Wildlife Center planning open houses

The Wildlife Center of Virginia, the nation’s leading teaching and research hospital for native wildlife, has scheduled three open-house dates for Fall 2012.

These are rare opportunities to see the inner workings of the Waynesboro facility, as well as meet some of the wildlife that serve as the Center’s education ambassadors.

The open houses will be held on:

  • Saturday, September 8
  • Sunday, September 23

The Center will have three tours each day – at 12:30 p.m.; 2:00 p.m.; and 3:30 p.m.  Each session lasts about an hour.

As a wildlife emergency room and hospital, the Wildlife Center is not usually open to the public.  The open houses are the times during the year when visitors may tour the Center.

There is no charge to participate in an open house; however, reservations are required. Interested individuals may secure a reservation through the Center’s homepage –

www.wildlifecenter.org; look for the Open House link.

A limited number of spaces are available for each session.  Reservations may be made for up to five individuals; children must be accompanied by parents or guardians.  Larger groups [school groups, scout troops, etc.] are encouraged to contact the Center’s Outreach Department to make alternate arrangements.

During the open house, visitors will tour the Center’s building, including the medical clinic [examination room, operating room, etc.].  In addition, visitors will get to “meet” the Center’s education animals – some of the 20 non-releasable animals that the Center’s education staff uses in school assemblies and classroom presentations.  Included in the Center’s education “faculty” are a Bald Eagle and a Golden Eagle, owls [Great Horned, Screech, and Barred], Red-tailed Hawks, several different species of snakes, and Virginia Opossums.  As most of these animals live in outdoor homes, these tours are offered weather permitting.

Open-house visitors will not have the opportunity to see any of the Center’s patients.  The Center strives to limit human interaction with these wild animals.

Every year, about 2,500 animals – ranging from Bald Eagles to opossums to chipmunks – are brought to the Wildlife Center for care.  “The goal of the Center is to restore our patients to health and return as many as possible to the wild,” Wildlife Center President Ed Clark said.  “At the Wildlife Center, we treat to release.”

The Wildlife Center of Virginia is an internationally acclaimed teaching and research hospital for wildlife and conservation medicine.  During its history, the nonprofit Center has cared for more than 60,000 wild animals, representing 200 species of native birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.

The Center’s public education programs share insights gained through the care of injured and orphaned wildlife, in hopes of reducing human damage to wildlife.  In 2011, the Center launched Critter Cam, a live-web-based camera that provides the opportunity to see patients.  Current “stars” of Critter Cam include a Peregrine Falcon [rescued from its nest in Norfolk], a Barn Owl from Orange County, and a Great Horned Owl, admitted from Maryland.

The Center trains veterinary and conservation professionals from all over the world and is actively involved in comprehensive wildlife health studies and the surveillance of emerging diseases.  Additional information about the Wildlife Center is available at www.wildlifecenter.org.  

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