By Darla Shelden
The WildCare Foundation will hold its annual Spring Baby Shower on Saturday, April 28 from 2 – 5 p.m. at its facility 7601 84th St. four miles east of Noble, OK. Admission is free.
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 is the perfect opportunity to meet these baby creatures before they are released back to nature.
On any given day, between February and November, WildCare’s nurseries may have around 150 baby mammals and 200 baby birds needing care. Baby mammals are bottle-fed every 4 hours and songbirds are fed every 30 minutes for 14 hours each day.
“Last February, in a very small box with a heated rice sock and fluffy material, the first mammal babies arrived. Lucky to be in good shape after falling when their nest tree was cut down, the infant fox squirrels, with umbilical cords, were only a few days old,” said WildCare Co-founder Rondi Large. “A few days earlier we received a paper box with shredded paper in it along with 2 nestling pigeons. Pigeons and doves are very early nesters.”
City of Edmond Animal Welfare Officer, Mike Reynolds is a supporter of WildCare. He said, “Last month I was called out on an injured animal. I arrived and was met by a young man who was in tears. He informed me that while he was cutting down a tree, he heard a strange sound. While looking around he found baby squirrels. Momma didn’t survive the fall. The young man still sobbing couldn’t hold back his emotions. I brought the babies back to my office, and met with WildCare on my way home. As sad as this is, I still love my job, I was here to save these little ones.”
Visitors will have the opportunity to take self-guided tours throughout the five-acre property and see about 400 animals in various stages of recovery. The mammal area is home to bobcats, foxes, squirrels, raccoons, opossums and skunks — to name a few.
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.
The WildCare Baby Shower event is an extremely busy day for the 20 to 30 volunteers who help out. Only select volunteers are able 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.”
T-shirts, coffee mugs, handmade jewelry, and adoption kits for those wanting to sponsor an animal will be available at the baby shower. All of the money earned from merchandise sales goes straight back into helping the animals.
WildCare is located on 20 acres in rural Cleveland County, east of the city of Noble. A 6-foot high chain link fence surrounds approximately 6 acres, with several enclosures nestled between dense cedars trees. WildCare has in addition to 2,600 square feet of dedicated inside space, 13,400 square feet of outside mammal enclosures and 26,100 square feet of outside bird enclosures.
“This year we have taken in 541 animals with 148 releases so far. There are 350 animals on the property, including 105 in the Nursery. Intake is double what it was last year. If this is a sign of the rest of the year then we better be ready,” said Large.
WildCare Foundation is a state and federally licensed facility for the rehabilitation of wild animals. It is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization supported through donations. One way you can contribute to the facility is by becoming a member of the WildCare Foundation.”
WildCare has three Directors, Rondi Large, B.A., Operational Director and Co-Founder, O.T. Sanders, M.S., Ph.D., Facility Director and Co-Founder, and Joe Carter, DVM, Medical Director. In addition to the non-paid directors, WildCare is staffed by both full and part time employees. Seasonal Interns assist with the hundreds of babies arriving each spring and summer.
“Since WildCare started in 1984, the numbers of orphaned and injured animals brought to us have increased dramatically – from less than 100 to over 4,000 a year. WildCare has now cared for over 50,000 animals struggling to survive. All of these animals certainly would have died without public support. These are not just statistics. They are precious lives of magnificent wild creatures that desperately need your help to survive,” said Large.
To make a donation, send checks to WildCare Foundation, 7601 84th St. Noble, OK 73068, call 405-872-9338, or visit www.wildcareoklahoma.org.
Public is invited to attend WildCare’s annual Spring Baby Shower
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