Injured wild animals in Washington, D.C., that were once hauled to neighboring states now have a haven right in the vicinity. City Wildlife, a nonprofit organization, has opened the first rehabilitation center in the District giving thousands of animals a place to recuperate.
City Wildlife began in 2008 with the mission “to assist wildlife in the District of Columbia and surrounding areas through rehabilitation, release to the wild, and public education.”
They aim to reduce the conflict between the humans and the animals, as “local wildlife habitat has been severely depleted, and wild animals have had to adapt to living in close proximity with people,” says the group’s website.
The organization was quick to recognize the need for a local rehabilitation center in the District. Previously, incapacitated critters were taken to neighboring jurisdictions because of a lack of infrastructure. The hospitals, especially Second Life Wildlife in Gaithersburg, Maryland, tried to come to rescue for the local injured animals.
The situation was not favorable — while the hospitals remained overwhelmed by the large percentage of the animals they were treating, the injured animals often couldn’t last the long commute and died on the way.
Wildlife President Anne Lewis told WJLA, “So all of the animals that D.C. animal control was picking up all these years would be sent to Gaithersburg, and many of them did not make it because the drive was too long.”
City Wildlife worked to create a care space for about 1,200 sick, injured, and orphaned wild animals annually. Along with the care that these animals need, the organization give them physical examinations, fluid therapy, parasite treatments, wound management, fracture stabilization, and other more.
A professional wildlife veterinarian was hired for consultation.
The new rehabilitation center is licensed to treat injured, sick, and orphaned wild birds, small mammals, and native reptiles and amphibians. Initially, they won’t treat deer or rabies vector species (raccoons, foxes, bats, skunks, coyotes). The wild birds and animals will be transferred to other rehabilitators for continued treatment after their condition stabilizes.
The rehabilitation center is located at 15 Oglethorpe St. NW in Washington, D.C., and it is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.
As a nonprofit organization, City Wildlife relies on donations and funding from the community to protect the life of wild animals.