Does your organization give grants to non-profits dedicated to animal welfare, public health and safety, community engagement or wildlife education? Wildwoods is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit with a mission to promote understanding, appreciation, and well being of wildlife and the world we share through compassion, care, and community involvement.
If your organization supports these values and would like to help Wildwoods further our mission, or would like more information about us, you can reach our Executive Director, Farzad Farr, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 218-491-3604.
First and foremost, Wildwoods is about the welfare and humane treatment of wildlife. We do this by first being a resource for community members who find a wild animal they believe to be in need. Guiding the animal finder to either leave a healthy animal alone, or to bring an injured, sick or orphaned animal to us is the first step in ensuring the animal has the best chance at living the wild life it was intended to live. In 2015 we admitted over 1,100 animals, double the number we admitted in 2013.
Once an animal enters our care, our primary goal is to get the animal to physical readiness, with the skills it will need for eventual release to, and survival in, the wild. Wildwoods staff, under the guidance of a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, calculates and administers medications when necessary, bandages wounds and determines feeding schedules, amounts, and types of food to be given. Volunteers assist with feeding animals and cleaning habitats.
Once the staff determines that a particular animal is healthy, of appropriate age, and has the skills necessary to survive in the wild, they are released.
Public Health and Safety
Scared, injured and sick wildlife can be a major threat to people who lack the experience to deal with such situations safely. Wildwoods is a resource for the community and works with state and local authorities to make sure kids, adults and pets are safely coexisting with our wildlife. While we do rely on the “finders” to bring animals to us when it is safe to do so, we also refer more dangerous situations to local humane animal control experts.
Local emergency services also have our phone number so when someone is driving along on the interstate and they see an injured animal but cannot safely stop, they can call 911 who will then contact us.
We also help keep communities safe from animal-transmitted diseases. In 2015 our area was hit hard with an outbreak of canine distemper, a fatal disease that affects a range of wild animals and domestic pets. Hundreds of animals contracted the disease and animal control seemed to be at our door every hour with another one. It was a dark period, but we were able to aleviate the city’s burden to deal with the crisis, and keep the public (and their pets) safe.
Wildwoods relies on the community to report sick, injured and orphaned wildlife and to bring them to us whenever possible. The folks in our area are very compassionate and dedicated to conservation and animal welfare. Many times they will drive several hours one way to save just one little bird or squirrel. Unfortunately we don’t have the funding or insurance to pick up animals ourselves, but we do have a dedicated network of volunteers that we can reach out to. This is clearly an issue people care about and are willing to go the extra mile for, literally.
While we would love to be able to do more regarding the transport of wild animals in need, we have seen it time and time again that when someone brings us an animal for help they are investing in that life. It brings them a great sense of accomplishment and purpose. The have become a part of that animal’s story, whether the outcome is joyous or sad. Even when the animal’s journey in this life is over, they know they have helped end its suffering.
Those who have brought animals to us leave with a better understanding of nature, or at least better appreciation for it. They are more likely to keep an eye open for situations that could be dangerous to animals, like yogurt cups that aren’t rinsed out and crushed, a potential head trap for many species. They are more likely take precautions to keep “pest” animals out of their homes, rather than trapping or poisoning them once they’re inside, more likely to keep pets inside or more closely supervised. They take a vested interest in the natural world around them and that is one of the many rewarding things about wildlife rehabilitation.
Whenever someone brings an animal to us we use it as an educational opportunity to explain why cats should be kept indoors or why cow’s milk is not an acceptable food substitute for a baby squirrel. People also ask us all kinds of questions about fawns, what to do if they found baby bunnies in their yard, what the difference between a nestling and a fledgling is and so much more. We are always happy to answer these questions because we believe that through educating the public we can prevent a host of maladies that befall our wild neighbors.
Our educational efforts go beyond our own walls, though. Wildwoods staff members speak at a range of events at universities, libraries and K-12 schools. We also keep our eyes open for educational opportunities when going about our everyday lives.