News Releases, College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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News from the
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Illinois
3225 Vet. Med. Basic Sciences Bldg.
2001 S. Lincoln Ave.
Urbana, IL 61802
April 10, 2013

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Contact: Chris Beuoy

April Shower Benefits Wildlife Babies

URBANA - On Sunday, April 21, local wildlife fans will have the opportunity to shower baby wildlife with gifts of food and supplies at the University of Illinois Wildlife Medical Clinic's Wildlife Baby Shower, held at Prairieland Feeds, 303 South Dunlap Street (Route 45) in Savoy.

For the Wildlife Medical Clinic, spring means the arrival of many new mouths to feed. Each year, dozens of wildlife baby orphans are delivered to the clinic needing care and nurturing.

Guests are invited to stop by this free event between 11 am and 2 pm to meet the clinic's resident hawks and owls, see wildlife orphans, and play baby shower games. Shower gifts can include gift cards from food stores, Wal-Mart, Prairieland Feeds, and office supply stores.

At 11:30 am and again at 1 pm there will be presentations on the Wildlife Medical Clinic and what to do when you find a baby wild animal.

According to Nicki Rosenhagen, a second-year veterinary student and co-manager of the Wildlife Medical Clinic, about 40% of the animals brought to the clinic aren't orphans at all. These animals--typically cottontails, fawns and fledgling birds--are healthy, yet a well-meaning bystander "kidnaps" the animal while the mom or dad is away from the nest.

Where is the mother? She is not with her babies all day, as she has to forage for food too.

"Sometimes a mother staying with her babies for too long is actually dangerous. A mother rabbit has essentially no way to defend her babies from predators, so her best bet is to feed quickly, rarely, and leave the quiet, unscented babies hidden," explains Rosenhagen.

Nicki says that if the finder isn't sure whether the baby is an orphan, it's always best to call a professional before doing anything. "Baby animals always do better with mom than they do with us, despite our very best efforts," she stresses.

Another way to support the clinic is through the "Sponsor a Day at the Wildlife Medical Clinic" program, which allows individuals to choose a day on which to cover the clinic's daily operational costs for as little as $200. Sponsorships can be made in honor of birthdays, anniversaries, and other milestones. For more information visit,

For more information about the University of Illinois Wildlife Medical Clinic, visit For the latest news, follow the clinic on Facebook at