By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
NOBLE, OK – WildCare Oklahoma only opens its doors to the public twice a year and one of those opportunities to visit will be Saturday, April 29. The much anticipated WildCare annual Baby Shower will be held from 2-5 p.m. and admission is free. The facility is located at 7601 84th St., four miles east of Noble, OK.
Thousands of wild orphans arrive at WildCare each year, and each baby animal needs proper care, good nutrition, and a stimulating environment.
The WildCare Baby Shower provides a great opportunity to meet these young creatures before they are released back to nature. Visitors will see Oklahoma wildlife in various stages of recovery while they are being conditioned to be returned to the wild.
Guests will be able to take self-guided tours throughout the 7-acre WildCare property, which includes the new Golden Family Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center, as well as the outside grounds and enclosures.
The Center is a 5,200 sq ft building which includes admissions, an education room, veterinary clinic, commissary, office space, dorm rooms, isolation suite, reptile room, and separate nurseries for birds of prey, predatory mammals, small mammals, raccoons, songbirds, and cottontails.
The outdoor area includes 13,400 sq ft of mammal enclosures and 26,100 sq ft of aviaries situated in a natural Oklahoma habitat. The mammal area is home to bobcats, foxes, squirrels, raccoons, opossums and skunks — to name a few.
WildCare Foundation’s mission is to provide a place for people to bring native wildlife struggling to survive, with the goal of releasing healthy individuals back to nature. WildCare is a nonprofit 501(c)3 funded solely by tax exempt donations.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes peek at our wildlife patients, visit with staff, interns, and volunteers, and learn more about how we care for the 7,000 wildlife patients that enter our doors each year,” said Rondi Large, WildCare Oklahoma executive director. “This is our biggest event of the year and donations are appreciated.”
Only select volunteers are allowed to handle the animals because of WildCare’s hands-off policy of keeping human contact to a minimum. This protects the animals that eventually will be released back to the wild.
“Since childhood I’ve been attracted to wildlife, and I have a soft spot for injured or orphaned animals,” said Large. “I feel sorry that their habitat is decreasing. We humans have created a lot of unnatural obstacles for wild animals and the least we can do is pick up the pieces. This is my way of saying I’m sorry for being born human, but let me help those that are not.”
Large co-founded WildCare Oklahoma in 1984 along with facility director O.T. Sanders. Since that time, over 80,000 wild animals have passed through its doors. Over 7,000 patients representing over 140 different species are treated annually with the help of “thousands of willing rescuers and dedicated supporters,” Large says.
T-shirts, coffee mugs, handmade jewelry, and adoption kits for those wanting to sponsor an animal will be available for purchase at the Baby Shower. All of the money earned from merchandise sales goes directly to help the animals.
A rain-or-shine event, visitors are encouraged to dress appropriately. Some accommodations for visitors who can’t walk the entire property are available. Guests are asked to leave their own pets at home.
Be prepared and put WildCare on speed-dial in case of a wildlife emergency. If you have found a wild animal that may be injured or orphaned, call 405-872-9338. Hours of Operation are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day. WildCare picks up wildlife from the Oklahoma Cty Animal Shelter, 2811 SE 29th St, daily at 4 p.m.
To make a donation, send checks to WildCare Foundation, 7601 84th St. Noble, OK 73068, call 405-872-9338, or visit www.wildcareoklahoma.org.