Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Wildlife Center of Virginia–Field Trip

The Wildlife Center of Virginia is a hospital for native wildlife in Virginia.   The Center’s goal is to help sick and injured native wildlife and return them to their natural habitat.   If an animal is not able to return to the wild, the center will look for homes in other wildlife facilities, zoos or use them in their educational programs.      You can watch some of the animals via Critter Cams. 

Several times during the year, the Center hosts an open house where the public can come in and tour the facility, learn about what they do here, and find out how to get involved.  We were privileged to be part of one of these tours recently.

Chapin Hardy (in the photo below) is the Outreach Coordinator for the facility.  She does school & library presentations and looks for ways to get the community involved in the Center.  She is a total scream, very engaging and incredibly knowledgeable about the facility and it’s patients.

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In the photo with Chapin is Keya, a red breasted hawk.  Keya's right wing was broken and although she can now fly, she isn’t able to hunt and feed herself, so she is now one of the educational animals.  The two photos below give you a better view of the defective wing.

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We were able to tour the hospital facility and actually get to see a baby squirrel receiving it’s afternoon medications.

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This is the x-ray room.

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This is an x-ray of a bear with a broken leg.

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Here is the operating room.  The stuffed animals are having a little too much fun while waiting for a real patient.

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In the kitchen area we got to see all the interesting things the animals eat.   There are “menu cards” for each type of animal, so the feeders know exactly what to put in each patients meal.

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Animals that are being treated and rehabilitated have very little human interaction (other than what is medically necessary) so that the animals don’t become dependent on humans, or become too familiar.  We weren’t allowed to see any of the patients (other than the squirrel).  We headed outside to see the facility where larger animals and birds of prey are kept.

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Last year the Center treated and returned 17 black bear cubs to the wild.   This year they only have 1 (so far).   Deer, possums,foxes and coyote are also treated at the facility.  

The aviary has several flight pens for rehabilitating purposes.  It also houses raptors of various kinds that will not be returning to the wild, due to injuries.   The most popular being Buddy, the bald eagle.

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The facility does amazing things, and it’s all funded through donations.  It’s incredible to see what can be done with a little help from concerned people.

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