Injured wildlife have complex needs and often require several weeks of care. Licensed wildlife rehabilitators utilize their extensive knowledge, training, and experience to ensure these animals can go back to the wild and fulfill their role in the ecosystem. The Wildlife Medical Clinic (WMC) provides medical care to approximately 2,000 patients each year, representing more than 100 different species. Once the animal is medically cleared, we partner with wildlife rehabilitators to transition this animal back to the wild and optimize its chances for success thereafter. Some of our youngest patients present as healthy orphans, requiring assisted feedings, a warm safe environment, and a chance to learn their natural behaviors. Our partnership with licensed wildlife rehabilitators is most evident in these cases, as they are best able to provide a place for care and an eventual transition to the wild as the animal grows.
In 2018, the Wildlife Medical Clinic welcomed Delphine, a female Virginia opossum. She was initially brought to the Wildlife Medical Clinic after a well-intentioned member of the public attempted to rehabilitate her. Unfortunately, this led to Delphine becoming too habituated to humans for her reintroduction to the wild. Additionally, some abnormalities in Delphine’s gait were of concern. Upon further testing, and it was determined Delphine required a Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO) due to suspected past trauma to her hip. This surgical procedure removes the head (top portion) of the femur to relieve pain and increase patient mobility when severe disease or trauma has occurred previously. On the bright side, Delphine’s calm demeanor and overall good health meant she was a good candidate for the Wildlife Ambassador program! Her FHO surgery went well and, after a little bit of physical therapy, Delphine is now happily working with our other amazing ambassador animals!
Delphine is one of the first mammals to join our Wildlife Ambassador Program. Since her joining, Delphine has been working with numerous veterinary student volunteers to adjust to her new lifestyle. One of her trainers is Allison Wright, a second-year veterinary student. We sat down with Ally to ask her a few questions about Delphine.
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Part of caring for resident wildlife includes providing different forms of enrichment for them to interact with and enjoy. This Halloween, each resident was given a pumpkin to help get them into the festive spirit! Delphine was especially excited to … Continue reading