41 years ago, the Wildlife Medical Clinic began operation at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital. While the program started small, in the following years the WMC would grow to treat over 2,000 patients every year! As the clinic grew, so too did the need for space and resources to house and treat our patients. In the summer of 2018, the Wildlife Medical Clinic was lucky enough to move from our space in the basement of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital to an adjacent building with space adapted specifically to our needs. This move has provided some much-needed space and allowed our program to continue its expansion, taking in more patients and training more students than ever before!
In the spirit of expansion, the Wildlife Medical Clinic is happy to announce our newest project: a new Ambassador Residence! Previously, our ambassador animals had been housed in smaller flight cages near the Basic Science Building on the Vet Med campus. This space met their needs during the warm months but required indoor housing during cold or adverse weather events. Just as the medical portion of the Clinic has expanded, so too has our ambassador team! In addition to our 5 birds of prey, we currently have an opossum and three reptiles which help round out our animal ambassador team. With new animals being added and more opportunities for public outreach, we needed to create a space that would facilitate all of the needs for all of our ambassador team.
This brings us to the construction of our new residence. This new space will be located right outside the Wildlife Medical Clinic’s new location on Hazelwood Drive, across the street from the University of Illinois Small Animal Clinic. This space will be used as year-round housing for all the animals in our ambassador animals. This new space provides shelter in all weather conditions, larger housing allocations for each ambassador, and we will have an amphitheater-like space which can help to further expand our public outreach program.
Architect’s rendition of what the new residence will look like!
After years of work planning and revising plans of this project, the ground was finally broken on July 25, 2019! We anticipate the project to be complete this fall. This effort would not be possible without the support of the generous donors to the Wildlife Medical Clinic.
Our Clinic honors a three-fold mission to provide veterinary care to native wildlife, educational opportunities for our student volunteers, and to support conservation efforts through public outreach. Without the support of our community, we would not be the clinic we are today.
The opportunity to volunteer at the Wildlife Medical Clinic is one of the unique experiences offered to veterinary students at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. Whether students have minimal wildlife handling experience or years of wildlife rehab under their belts, Illinois veterinary students are encouraged to volunteer in this hands-on clinical environment. However, not every veterinary school has this kind of opportunity available. Because of this, the Wildlife Medical Clinic has developed a conference for veterinary students interested in wildlife medicine called Wild-Life-Line.
The conference was held during the last weekend of March and welcomed veterinary students from all over the United States to Champaign-Urbana. The curriculum included two days of both didactic and hands-on training. Participants were taught a multitude of things including species identification, physical exam skills, triage and bandaging, anesthesia, and case management. Throughout each of the activities, students were able to work one on one with WMC doctors and students to ensure they were getting the most out of their experience. Continue reading →
On January 25, the Wildlife Medical Clinic successfully hosted its largest fundraiser of the year, Wild Night Out (WNO), at Papa Del’s Pizza. This event is designed to be a fun and engaging night out for veterinary students and faculty. Activities included a silent auction, a live auction, raffle ticket sales, and a delicious pizza dinner (both deep dish and thin crust!) for everyone who attended. This event is special both as an opportunity to build camaraderie throughout the veterinary school and its ability to help to raise necessary funds to support our patients at the wildlife clinic.
from the night included Veterinary Clinical Medicine Department Head Dr. Dennis
French’s incredible auctioneer skills and light-up shoes, a competitive but
friendly bidding war between students to attend a bar crawl with the large
animal/zoo medicine clinicians, and the birthday cake that was brought out for the
Wildlife Medical Clinic’s very own Dr. Sarah Reich’s birthday, which happened
to be that same night!
event was a huge success for the Wildlife Medical Clinic with over two hundred
people in attendance and thousands of dollars raised. All proceeds will go
toward the care for our patients at the Wildlife Medical Clinic. We look
forward to the opportunity to grow further student educational opportunities
and maximize the chances of the successful release of our patients back to the
wild in the months to come!
A huge shout out to the Wildlife Support Fund, Nina French, Gina Clapper, Dr. Dennis French, Dr. Julia Whittington, and Dr. Sarah Reich for everything they did to help organize this event and make it run as smoothly as it did! We look forward to hosting this event again next year and the support it provides for our patient in the clinic.