Although the coronavirus pandemic caused the Wildlife Medical Clinic to close its doors to wildlife patients for the first time in our 42-year history, the good news is, we have been very active during the closure, caring for our ambassadors and remaining patients as well as delivering training remotely to a new group of student volunteers.
And the great news is, we will be ready to accept patients again on Monday, May 18, 2020!
Over the weeks that our doors were closed to new patients, our core care team has still been hard at work. Our animal ambassadors and patients that were admitted prior to the stay-at-home order require daily care, which has been delivered by the clinic’s student managers and by the residents, interns, and faculty of the Wildlife Medical Clinic and the Zoo Med Service at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
All nine of our animal ambassadors are getting the same top-notch care—from enrichment projects and outdoor time to training and veterinary check-ups—that they do when we have our full team of volunteers.
The patients continuing to receive care during the closure include an Eastern box turtle recovering from fractures to his carapace (the top of the shell) and a juvenile snapping turtle. In most cases we transfer patients to wildlife rehabilitators as soon as they have a clean bill of health; turtles, however, can often be released directly to the wild after treatment—but not in cold weather. Unfortunately for these two turtles, they were brought in too close to winter, so their release must wait until warmer weather, which is rapidly approaching. In the meantime, they are receiving daily care and enrichment.
Our team of summer student volunteers was carefully chosen earlier this semester. They have already received the first of several training activities to get them ready for the summer, when they will focus on delivering nutrition, warmth, and care to wildlife babies. Conducting this training in a socially distanced way required ingenuity and flexibility on the part of both volunteers and supervisors. Through a video chat, we discussed care of our most vulnerable population of patients: sick and injured juvenile animals. These volunteers have reviewed protocols describing the needs of babies of various species, so they will be ready for hands-on training when they arrive on campus to help save lives.
Summer veterinary student interns have also been selected. The interns, who have previously volunteered at the Wildlife Medical Clinic, will dedicate their summer to building their knowledge and experience handling, assessing, diagnosing, and treating wild animals for a range of conditions.
We are thrilled to be able to return to accepting new patients on May 18! However, because the ongoing pandemic requires several procedural modifications to ensure the safety of our staff and community finders, the Wildlife Medical Clinic will be operating on a limited capacity.
Wildlife Patient Drop-off Procedures, Beginning May 18:
Monday – Friday, 8 am to 5 pm:
- Bring patients to the parking lot at Vet Med South Clinic (2100 S Goodwin Ave, Urbana).
- Call 217-244-2555 on arrival.
Saturday and Sunday, 8 am to 5 pm:
- Bring patients to the parking lot at the Small Animal Clinic (1008 W Hazelwood Dr, Urbana).
- Call 217-333-5300 on arrival.
We will not be able to safely accept patients at other times. If you find an animal that needs care outside of these hours, please secure it in a quiet, dark space until morning.
Bring the animal in a carrier or other safe container. We will not be able to return the carrier at the time of the drop off, but will arrange a time for pick-up of carriers and traps at a later date.
For any questions, you may reach the Wildlife Medical Clinic directly at 217-244-1195. We look forward to serving the needs of our community and local wildlife soon!