By Amy Whisenhunt, Assistant Director of Individual Giving
Being the only wildlife rehabilitation hospital around Philadelphia means the Wildlife Clinic at the Schuylkill Center stays very busy.
This past year set a record for intakes with over 4,000 orphaned and injured animals treated—that comes out to an average of 25 animal arrivals each day. Our local wildlife face many threats—mainly from human activity. Birds migrating south can be severely injured by windows. Baby squirrels can be orphaned when their mother is hit by a car.
The challenges change from season to season, but what keeps the Clinic going year-round is the hard work of over a hundred volunteers and the generosity of our donors.
Here’s an update on some of the many wild patients treated at the Clinic this fall. Their recovery wouldn’t have been possible without our community of supporters:
Treatment While Migrating
Last month, an adult woodcock suffering from head trauma was found in Center City and brought into the Clinic. This bird most likely collided with a window during her trip south in search of warmer weather. After a few days of steroids, fluids, and anti-inflammatories, the woodcock was successfully released on November 8.
Here she is just moments after her release.
Can you see her? They’re excellent at staying camouflaged!
When orphans are brought to the Clinic—usually due to the death of the mother, or because their nest was destroyed—they need to be weaned. This means round-the-clock feeding until they’re ready to find food on their own.
First they’re bottle-fed milk formula every few hours, sunrise to sunset. Then the diet gradually adds food pellets until the animal is eating only hard food and ready to be released.
This squirrel is enjoying one of her last bottle sessions before she’s ready to “graduate” to a crate outside. Living outdoors is the last stage of weaning before an orphan is ready to be released.
This opossum is staying warm in her outdoor nest, almost ready to join her siblings in the wild.
Without the support of our community, our local wildlife would face very uncertain odds, but thanks our generous friends and careful neighbors, they have a second chance.
The Wildlife Clinic at the Schuylkill Center is open to accept animals from 10:00 am– 6:00 pm seven days/week from April to September, and 10:00 am–4:00 pm seven days/week from October to March.
An excerpt of this post was published in our winter 2017 issue of The Quill, our quarterly newsletter.
About the author
Amy Whisenhunt is our Assistant Director of Individual Giving and newest member of the Schuylkill Center’s fundraising team. She just moved to Philadelphia from New York City and is thrilled to work with the many nature and wildlife-loving supporters of the Center. She’s particularly fond of cats, wolves, goats and tribbles.