VIEWPOINT: East Maui Animal Refuge has reopened and needs public’s help

As a relatively new board member for East Maui Animal Refuge, lovingly known as the Boo Boo Zoo, I am appealing to the animal lover in all of us to help our furry and feathered friends that are unable to help themselves.

From EMAR’s inception, Sylvan and Suzie Schwab, as well as countless volunteers and donors, have helped to provide a lifetime home for any animal taken into their care that cannot be adopted or returned to the wild.

After 30 years, EMAR’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife was revoked due to alleged deficiencies resulting in noncompliance with specific regulations.

In order to reapply for the permit, a yearlong renovation of the wildlife rehabilitation facility began so that it would conform to the necessary requirements.

During this period, no visitors were permitted, meaning that not only was a huge sum of money expended on renovations but also donation income plummeted.

The good news is that EMAR has since been able to obtain an exotic animal permit, which does allow the public to visit, thereby allowing ongoing educational programs.

While the details of the board’s trials and tribulations in dealing with government agencies and general construction are too lengthy and involved to elaborate on here, please be aware that this has left the nonprofit financially devastated. This is why our board was forced to restrict resources to only those animals that are presently under EMAR’s care.

While this has been a painful decision, and we continue to struggle financially, our board is firmly behind EMAR’s mission, which is to develop an educational exhibition facility that will allow wildlife that cannot be returned into the wild to be utilized for educational purposes.

With public support, which is the refuge’s primary source of funds, EMAR will be able to continue both domestic and wildlife rescue programs in perpetuity and continue our mission to provide homes for those animals that cannot be adopted or returned to the wild.

Only through the public’s generosity will the Boo Boo Zoo be able to continue to love and care for our furry and feathered friends who have nowhere to turn.

To help ensure EMAR’s survival, please consider the following ways to help:

* Make a donation in any amount to EMAR via email at; through the mail to EMAR, 25 Maluaina Place, Haiku 96708; call 572-8308 to make a credit card donation over the phone; or give an automatic monthly donation online at

* Adopt an animal directly.

* Do your shopping through the app on EMAR’s website,

* Vote for the East Maui Animal Refuge at as prompted on our Web page.

* If we have helped you in the past or if you would like to share the story of your visit to the Boo Boo Zoo, please email it to us for use on our website and Facebook page.

* If you own or have inherited stock, property or other valued assets, you can donate it and receive a tax deduction by calling 572-8308.

* If you are looking for a class project or want to do a carwash, take up a collection or hold a bake sale to benefit the Boo Boo Zoo, please let us know and we will post it on our website and Facebook page.

My wish for the new year is that our community continues to be richly blessed by those who care for animals who cannot care for themselves, as well those who care for one another through their loving acts of kindness.

* Jo Anne Johnson Winer is an East Maui Animal Refuge board member. She lives in Lahaina.