By Michael J. ARVIZU
This weekend’s first Teranga Ranch Summerfest at Sunland Park is slated to go to the dogs and cats – and the lemurs, opossums, ferrets, chameleons and other wildlife.
The animals at Summerfest are part of Teranga Ranch’s outreach efforts to the community to increase awareness and education of local wildlife in the area.
Summerfest begins at 5 p.m. Friday and runs through 9 p.m. on Sunday. An official opening ceremony is slated for 11 a.m. on Saturday.
Living along the base of the San Gabriel Mountains and Angeles National Forest, residents are bound to encounter wildlife at some point, said Dana Stangel, Summerfest organizer and Teranga Ranch herpetologist.
“We have people here who don’t know how to co-exist; they freak out when they see a mountain lion,” Stengel said. “What we need to really understand is that these animals are not coming straight for us. They live here, too, and we need to live here with them.”
Sunland-based Teranga Ranch is a reptile rescue and education organization, with locations in Burbank and Pasadena.
Planning for the event was started as a way to bring money into the community, Stangel said, in the wake of the Sunland-Tujunga Watermelon Festival moving out of town, and do some community building.
Stengel says she would also like to see a nature and wildlife center in Sunland and Tujunga where kids and adults alike “can learn how to peacefully coexist with their local wildlife,” she said.
Summerfest will be held in a carnival atmosphere, with games rides, and live music throughout the day. Los Angeles Animal Services, the Angeles National Forest Wildlife Waystation, and Sun Valley-based FixNation, among other organizations, are scheduled to speak and have animals available for adoption.
Animal adoption consultations for reptiles will also take place, Stengel said.
“We’ll start talking to people about adoptions if they are interested in reptiles,” she said.
For more information, call (818) 305-4377, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit their website at www.terangaranch.org or Facebook page at www.facebook.com/terangaranch.