Reflections on a Summer of Rehabilitation
Working with wildlife results in a profound appreciation for the variety of animals you extensively care for each and every day. This appreciation goes well beyond being simply a “nature lover”. For example, some people who have rarely encountered opossums may claim that they are merely a nuisance. However, I have not only grown personally fond of these creatures during my time with them, but I have also gained a greater appreciation for their role in nature. This certainly applies to all types of wild animals. Feeding, cleaning, and providing medical care to wildlife as well as seeing their growth and progress has been an unforgettable experience throughout these summer months. An animal gaining weight or beginning to eat on their own may seem like an insignificant event to some, but these milestones are cause for great excitement to rehabilitators. Recognizing specific animals from a group because of their physical features or personality is also a true testament to the time spent working with wildlife to return them to good health and, if possible, to the wild.
Countless birds, herps, and mammals come through the rehabilitation program, and immense effort is put into each animal to maximize their chances at attaining good health and ideally being released. Admitted wildlife may require extensive time for rehabilitation, while others need only days. Some animals require physical therapy, supervised swimming, flight time, or even surgical procedures. WLS is determined to do these things and more for the injured and orphaned wildlife that come into their care. Being able to witness and be a part of the immense amount of time, energy, and love that wildlife rehabilitators put into their passion has certainly been amazing. Tough experiences inevitably occur, but seeing babies grow, injured and ill animals improve, and releasing rehabilitated wildlife reaffirms the purpose of the many tireless hours rehabilitators put in…all in the hope that wild animals can remain healthy and wild.