Flying squirrel patients nestle together
Thanks to your donations and continued support, Center for Wildlife continues to provide quality care injured and orphaned patients (admitted daily with severe injuries and trauma), while expanding our volunteer and intern training programs which provide unique hands-on educational and practical experience for local community members and individuals interested in pursuing careers in wildlife rehabilitation. This depth of trained care givers has allowed us to expand our capacity for the number and complexity of patients we treat while maintaining high quality care, and has freed up professional staff time to keep abreast of the latest advances in treatment and explore new research and diagnostics opportunities. With your help, Center for Wildlife also continues to focus on facility remediation and repairs, and construction of new caging, in order to treat the diversity of wild animals.
We are delighted to share highlights of Center for Wildlife’s accomplishments this past year include:
Growth in medical clinic staff and prevention
In 2012, Center for Wildlife recruited and trained three (an entire) new clinic staff with strong backgrounds in research, diagnostics, wildlife ecology, and wildlife husbandry. Building on the momentum from 2011 the new staff quickly embarked on creating improved patient treatment and telephone hotline protocols and training . Treatment protocols are now current and thorough, and our telephone hotline is more heavily focused on prevention of injuries and prevention of removal of wildlife from their habitats. The increased number of phone calls to our Wildlife Assistance Hotline (12,000+ callers per year), improved policies and protocols supported by a renewed focus on prevention has directly resulted in a decrease in mammal admissions; specifically young mammals. This focus of resources toward prevention has empowered our Senior Interns and Wildlife Specialists to coach callers to observe rather than disturb juveniles whose nests were destroyed or were temporarily separated from their mothers in the wild. Most callers were able to witness a “National Geographic moment” when observing a frantic mother find her young, re-build a nest, and carry each small mammal safely to their new home. This focus on prevention has reduced the number of patients this year from 1,623 to a little over 1,400, allowing us to spend more time on the patients in our clinic and staff development.
This past summer we welcomed our long-time volunteer veterinarian Dr. John Means to our Board of Directors. John brings over 30 years of raptor and wildlife medicine experience to our clinic, and has formed a Medical Clinic Committee whose mission is to improve diagnostics, emergency stabilization and treatment regimens, provide support on researching husbandry, case studies, and enrichment, and tracking and logging the valuable data collected by the center each year. The Medical Clinic Committee along with an enhanced volunteer program utilizing experienced staff to provide supportive care has led directly to advanced care, more efficient treatment and lower death rates of injured and orphaned patients while in the Center’s care. Examples include increased success and shorter turn-around of North American porcupine patients with skin disease, and improved diagnostics of bacterial infections of Northern gannets and other pelagic water-birds allowing them to be released before secondary conditions occur.
Enhanced Support Staff Training Program
Center for Wildlife focused on revising our volunteering and intern training program this year, with the goal of streamlining the training process, creating enhanced opportunities for volunteers and interns, and ensuring that policies and procedures existed where needed to help all areas of the organization run more efficiently. With improved efficiency in the clinic, time was freed up to provide educational opportunities to volunteers and interns. These included field trips to Tufts Wildlife Clinic, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farm, and the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, NH. Additionally, a shift in the staffing structures allowed for the creation of a 12-month Senior Intern position without increasing the budget. This position will provide year-round support to the clinic in the areas of recruiting, training, and scheduling volunteers and interns, data entry and record-keeping, soliciting in-kind donations of medical supplies, and improving nutrition, handling, and enrichment guidelines for wildlife care.
Growth in Education & Outreach
This year Center for Wildlife created and filled an Education & Outreach Fellow position. With a growing number of wildlife ambassadors receiving sanctuary at Center for Wildlife and connecting with the community, this position has been integral in providing support and enrichment for our permanent animal residents. The Education & Outreach Fellow coordinates volunteer workdays where community members come to the Center once per month to create habitats and clean enclosures (building custom ramps and ladders to accommodate each animal’s disabilities, and creating unique habitat features such as bathing pools and cavity nests.) The Fellow has also been trained to present educational programs, helping to grow Center for Wildlife’s educational program offerings to over 200 programs per year.
With the recent addition of an educational pavilion, Center for Wildlife has been able to offer public programming nearly every month, along with a “Tuesday Afternoon Summer Tour Series”. Public programs focus on seasonal wildlife and joint programming with partner organizations, allowing the public the unique opportunity to connect with local wildlife -learning about their current challenges and how to become stewards for our natural world. One recent program “Moonrise to Sunset: a spooky moonlight adventure and owl prowl” was so popular we ended up leading over 60 participants (twice the number of past events) on the trail calling for owls, an experience they are not soon to forget!
We look forward to forging ahead in 2013, stronger than ever and with the capacity to treat every wild animal that is brought to us from our caring community with hope in their eyes that we can make a difference. Thank you!
Volunteer receives hands on experience with owl
Wildlife Specialist works on porcupine patient
Turkey recovering after flying through a window
Wildlife Ambassador Sir Tufts enjoys the sun:)