Springtime in Corvallis means more injured and orphaned wildlife. With volunteering put on hold, the Chintimini Wildlife Center for rehabilitated animals is seeking help and awareness from our local community.
The center is currently closed for tours and programs, and is unable to host seasonal field trips or support local outdoor school programs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CWC is also postponing their Art is Wild silent auction and annual Mother’s Day Open House, which fund the center’s activities as the two largest signature events of the year.
The Center has been in operation since 1989, and has served nearly 30,000 injured and orphaned wild animals to date, while providing countless community outreach and educational opportunities.
“We’re having daily discussions about how to provide quality virtual experiences without overextending our staff – because our duties in animal care come before absolutely everything else,” expressed Sarah Spangler, Executive Director of the CWC, in a recent press release.
Staff at the Center are still showing up for their daily animal duties – about a dozen Ambassador Animals, or permanent, non-releasable residents consisting mostly of birds of prey, are home to the property.
Meanwhile, staff are preparing for the annual influx of injured and orphaned wildlife found by the public. For the first time in three decades, the Center will be unable to rely on their 130 dedicated volunteers, due to suspended shift scheduling.
“Our busy season is a lot to prepare for even during normal circumstances, but this year is something different,” Spangler remarked. “Last year, we admitted about 600 animals at our wildlife hospital during May alone. That’s about a quarter of our patient load for the entire year.”
Tips for Animal Safety
Wildlife Rehabilitation Program Director Mary Estes is confident that her team can meet the needs of injured and orphaned wildlife in spite of social distancing measures. “The most humane and cost-effective way for us to care for wildlife in our community is to avoid injuring or orphaning them in the first place. That’s always been our main goal and message, but it’s even more important now given the uncertainties around funding, the availability of medical equipment and supplies, and our staff’s capacity.”
Conflicts between humans and wildlife account for the most cases treated at the CWC. The Center released an infographic of tips to prevent human interference, including: driving carefully, avoiding “kidnapping,” keeping cats indoors, and being mindful of nests.
According to the graphic, 200 animals required medical care at the center in 2019 due to automobile collisions, while more than 8 percent of wildlife admissions were found after falling from their nests. The Center advises that people call given this scenario, as birds can be re-nested and reunited with their mothers. Further, 16 percent of patients were injured by household pets, mostly cats. The center also advises that people scope for nesting sites before doing yardwork or maintenance, as 124 wildlife needed assistance from these kinds of disturbances last year.
While volunteering is currently closed at the CWC, their staff acknowledge all those who have reached out to help, and recommend extending a hand to other nonprofits in need.
Contributions to support the CWC can be made online or via postal mail.