We continue to be amazed and inspired by the extent of interest in wildlife and habitats from our community. The unseasonablly warm temperatures and lack of snowfall seemed to keep many wild animals out of roads, and our patient load did decrease a bit from last year which is wonderful! Staff took full advantage of this slightly lightened patient load (average of 100 patients in care during winter to early spring vs. average of 175) and began updating protocols, systems, procedures, and volunteer and intern training programs for the clinic. Our medical care staff, interns, and volunteers also took advantage of training opportunities and brushed up their skills in many areas such as oiled bird response and rescue, performing necropsies to determine causes of death and secure baseline data, and even trends in wildlife due to global climate change.
Our environmental education programs continue to increase in number, and countless members of the community are able to connect with our wild animal ambassadors- non-releasable raptors, reptiles, and mammals that because of their disability cannot return to the wild. This winter- spring we performed over 100 programs to schools, libraries, state parks, senior centers, and many other organizations teaching people young and old about a variety of topics; from white nosed syndrome in bats, nocturnal animals and their adaptations, winter wildlife strategies, and human's connection and dependence on healthy wildlife and ecosystems. We look forward to creating a new "Wildlife as Teachers and Healers" program later on this year which will focus on an accessible program for unique groups like seniors, at-risk, or students with learning disabilities so that all members of our community have an equal opportunity to connect with wildlife.
Here's a spotlight on one of our most inspiring cases this spring:
In late March a couple returned to their home after being away for a few days. They walked into their living room and saw that their window had been shattered and there was glass everywhere. Looking around, they were astounded to see a dazed red-tailed hawk attempting to perch on their arm chair! They quickly called a game warden who although could not provide medical care, was willing to transport the injured bird to the Center for Wildlife. Our medical staff quickly gave the bird a thorough exam and found that he had a deep wound on his wrist, but no fractures and his eyes were clear. Our volunteer veterinarian examined the bird the next day and confirmed that the wound was indeed deep, but somehow the glass had not torn any muscles, ligaments, or tendons that would be imperative for the bird to survive! He spent a few weeks in our Intensive Care room where our medical staff cleaned and tended his wounds daily, and volunteers and interns assisted with supportive care. His wound completely healed, and he moved through the rehabilitative process and gradually began soaring strongly in our 100 foot flight enclosure! After about a month he was amazingly back to 100 percent, and ready for release.
We brought the bird to the rescuers and they were thrilled to release him back into the wild. Here's what they had to say: "it is so wonderful to see this magnificent bird healthy and strong again. He actually has a mate, and we have been watching this pair every spring for the past few years. Thank you for treating him and getting him back to his home".
Thank YOU global giving donors, for helping us secure the funding to do this amazing work. With no state or federal funding we rely entirely on donors like you to continue medically treating and connecting the community with our wildlife and habitats. We couldn't do it without you!!
We are grateful for the opportunity to update you on what your funding and support is allowing us to do for wildlife this season!
Although winter can be a slower season for some species of animals (i.e.: nesting and breeding songbirds and small mammals, and migrating raptors and waterbirds), it can prove be a treacherous time for those winter residents that struggle to survive in the often extreme and harsh conditions. Winter can be the toughest season for our juvenile raptors as they struggle to gain the skills of searching for and catching prey- with less prey around as small mammals and reptiles hibernate, songbirds migrate, and snow provides an excellent hiding spot for those prey left.
With a naturally occurring 85% mortality rate across the board for owls, hawks, falcons, osprey, eagles, and vultures when we add road mortality this can prove devastating for local populations. Juvenile raptors often see the road as a great open space to catch prey without the cover of snow, and end up hunting in dangerous conditions. It is no coincidence that Center for Wildlife admits more raptors that are emaciated or have suffered injuries after being hit by cars this time of year.
Unfortunately this winter has been no exception, and with an influx of snowy owls from Canada (due to cyclical populations) we have admitted 3 different species of owls that have been hit by cars or emaciated including: barred owls, Northern saw whet owls, and snowy owls. Thanks to your funding and support, our medical staff have worked hard with patients whose injuries are not too severe, and we are hopeful that some will be released back into the wild where they belong!
In addition to our busy medical clinic, our education and outreach programs have been hard at work connecting students young and old to the wonder and importance of wildlife to ecosystems, agriculture, and even human health! This month alone we will present over 15 public and private ecology themed programs on the topics of winter wildlife strategies, signs of wildlife, owl adaptations, and more! We were also touched by the 4th grade students at Coastal Ridge Elementary who for the 5th year in a row raised funds to support Center for Wildlife instead of a gift exchange. We are truly fortunate to have such a caring community!
We are so pleased to report on the progress of our on-going project; protecting local and native wildlife in Maine and NH. As pressures on local wildlife continue to increase- rapidly developing roadways, increased encounters between domestic pets and wildlife, and pollution and other threats to our waterbirds- we continue to see an increase for demand in our services. We are encouraged and inspired that as many members of our community want to help wildlife, and are working hard at sustainably answering this demand for services; while continuing to provide quality medical care and environmental education programming.
Summer and fall often bring a large patient load as fledgling songbirds and raptors run into trouble navigating their first flights. Their parents prepare them as best they can, but powerlines, vehicles, skyscrapers, and other non-natural construction can throw a huge wrench in their first lessons- especially those headed to South America! We also prepare as best we can for the second litter of mammals in New England, and the large influx of orphaned patients we typically receive as squirrel, opossum, porcupine, and other small mammal moms run into fatal challenges- leaving entire litters of neonates and juveniles too young to survive on their own.
Because of this large patient load, CFW typically recruits, trains, and provides hands-on experience to generally 10 interns and 20 volunteers each busy season (equating to about 1,200 non-paid staff hours each month); who in turn provide quality supportive care to our diverse species of patients. This allows the professional staff to provide expert diagnostics and medical care, and pursue research opportunities.
When hurricane Irene hit, the typical support coverage wasn't close to enough! This devastating storm resulted in the rescue of hundreds of baby (neonate) mammals that needed to be fed from 6am-11pm, (YIKES!) on top of the regular busy summer season patient load. As much as the center has an emergency response protocol, no one was prepared for the influx.
The professional staff brainstormed solutions and contacted as many local in-home rehabilitators as we could find. They were all at maximum capacity with baby mammals. A plea for help went on the CFW Facebook page and our call was answered swiftly and with heartwarming enthusiasm.
Amy Pierce, CFW's Volunteer and Intern Coordinator quickly got to work contacting folks, setting up training sessions, and organizing shifts of baby mammal feeders between the hours of 6am and 11pm! The printed word can not express how immensely grateful our staff is by the outpouring of community support, without which would more than likely have resulted in CFW having to turn animals away, or compromise the quality of care given to our other patients.
This is just one example of many of the typical challenges our wildlife are facing, and what it takes to help them through it! Although a hurricane is a natural occurence, when coupled with all of the other challenges our wildlife face it can mean catastrophy. With your generous contributions through global giving, we are excited to continue our work with and for wildlife and our community!
Since February 2011, Center for Wildlife has admitted 462 birds, 270 mammals, and 25 reptiles that have been injured or orphaned due to being hit by a car, caught by a domestic cat, or other unnatural causes. The rescuers, professional medical staff, and volunteers and interns all play a role in ensuring quality medical and supportive care and treatment for these patients. With no state, federal, or municipal funding toward our services. donations like those from the GlobalGiving campaign play a vital role in supporting the care given to each patient from intake and initial examination, to prescription of course of treatment, ultimately to release.
Center for Wildlife has kept a great database over the last several years that tracks and provides analysis on species admitted, reason for admission, date, and location of rescue. In response to this data and trends in demand for services we have been able to increase non-paid staffing and have implemented a year-round Wildlife Care Internship Program. This spring we hosted our first spring intern block, and with this addition were able to care for over 250 patients at a time, while accommodating an increased interest in hands-on learning experiences for college students. We created a two-week orientation period with specialized workshops for interns and volunteers in areas like intensive care, small mammal feeding techniques, and raptor handling. We have also increased staffing for our Wildlife Assistance Hotline which receives up to 70 phone calls per day! Through our hotline we are able to assist the public with tips on living with wildlife, the risk of wildlife diseases, and how to safely rescue a wild animal in need. This is allowing us to expand our impact and with good advice prevent patients from even having to enter the clinic.
As we survey and analyze statistics and trends of our work and services, we have realized that we require more space for all of the various imperative functions that our rehabilitation, research, volunteer and intern, and educational programs perform. We are excited to be the largest wildlife medical clinic and education center in Northern New England, and the opportunity that we have to expand our services to meet the interest and demands of the community. We are looking forward to beginning the first phase of a capital campaign to update and expand our facilities that incorporates a
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