This year the Wildlife Medical Clinic celebrates its 40th anniversary! To celebrate, we want to take you on a virtual tour of our new clinic space led by our very own Dr. Reich. We were lucky enough to design this space from scratch with the considerations of the species that we treat and their stress levels in mind. After the big move last spring we have settled in nicely and have already cared for hundreds of orphaned and injured wildlife patients in the new space. We thank all those who have lent their support and helped us serve our mission for the past 40 years, and we look forward to many years to come.
I was a freshman at the University of Illinois studying Animal Sciences when I first saw the Wildlife Ambassadors. I was sitting in a lecture hall for a Pre-Vet Club meeting on a Tuesday evening when three students walked in with large boxes. The students introduced themselves as volunteers at the Wildlife Medical Clinic at Illinois. They opened the boxes and out stepped three birds of prey onto their gloves. I was fascinated. They described the natural history of the birds, how they presented to the clinic, why they couldn’t be released, and how they are now ambassadors for their species. I was entranced by these majestic animals, and I asked the volunteers how I could become involved in their care. The following year, I became an undergraduate volunteer at the Wildlife Medical Clinic.
We have some exciting news to share!
Our wildlife ambassador animals will be getting a new home in the summer of 2019. This enclosure will not only be designed for the individual needs of our current ambassadors but will also allow us to expand our program and accommodate new, non-releasable animals.
Our current resident enclosure was built in 2002. It was designed as a way for the birds in our educational program to gain more natural, outdoor exposure. While it has served this purpose, it is no longer suitable for our ambassadors and the student volunteers that work with them on a daily basis.
This need for an “upgrade” was realized back in 2015, right around when we included our Bald Eagle, River, in our education program. Through the hard work and dedication of a few key members of our Wildlife Medical Clinic and education program, we were able to design and enclosure and pursue funding options. After years of hurdles to overcome and numerous re-designs, the stars finally aligned. Within the last few months, we have formed both a superb design team as well as gained an extremely generous donor.
We plan on using this move as a stimulus to not only change the building our ambassador animals are in, but also how they are housed. Our aim is to design enclosures that can mimic the natural environments of our ambassador animals and provide as many enrichment opportunities as possible.
Exciting things are on the horizon for our ambassador program and this is only the first step in our advancement process. To achieve these goals, we need your help! Please consider donating to the Wildlife Medical Clinic using the “Give Now” button on our homepage.