Many of the animals that inhabit the Willowbrook Wildlife Center are true survivor stories.
For example, the on-site bobcat was run over and left for dead on the side of the road years ago. A fox had to have one of its legs removed after a stubborn infection. And an owl is missing one of its eyes.
But despite these deficiencies, all of them have found health and a home.
“We spend so much time with the animals, [so] it’s nice to contribute back to them,” said Rose Augustine, one of the Animal Specialists at Willowbrook.
These animals contribute back to Willowbrook via education, helping to teach others about coexisting with wildlife.
“If there was a bird that hit a building, that building is there because of us. If it was hit by a car, again, that’s a human-related injury,” said Augustine. “And so the fact that we can fix a little bit of that impact that humans are having is a great feeling.”
“I teach all kinds of groups of people– children, adults, scout groups, school groups, and community groups about wildlife and nature,” said Stephanie Touzalin, a Naturalist at Willowbrook. “[We teach] how to live with it and how to protect it.”
While many find permanent residence at Willowbrook, some are only stopping by.
One of the Center’s birds lost one of its claws due to infection, but is nearly ready to get back into the wild.
“As his recuperation finishes and we’ve deemed that he can successfully hunt, capture food on his own, he will be released back out into the wild,” said Augustine.
Each spring, Willowbrook gets its largest influx of both injured and abandoned animals. This year, officials say it should be no different.
“We’re just getting ready and just ramping up to get into our busy season,” said Augustine.
And with over 8,000 animals finding their way into the Wildlife Center last year, there will definitely be more animals with stories to tell come the end of 2011.
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