Spring is in full swing, which means it is the busiest time of year at Dane County Humane Society’s (DCHS) Wildlife Center just as Wisconsin is set to reach its COVID-19 peak. The wildlife rehabilitation program of DCHS provides comfort and care for ill, injured or orphaned wild animals with the goal of releasing healthy animals back to their natural habitats.
The program continues to operate, as DCHS is an essential business. However, the program is operating without volunteers and has made changes to the admitting process to keep the public and staff safe due to COVID-19. DCHS is asking for the public’s help in spreading the word that wildlife admission is by appointment only and the public must call ahead to 608-287-3235. Many times human intervention is not needed and reducing intake ensures limited resources available for the animals who truly need rehabilitation.
Here is what the public can expect if finding a wild animal in need of care:
1. Most importantly, call first to schedule an appointment. If the animal is already contained, do not feed or handle the animal, and keep it in a quiet location until the Wildlife Center calls back.
2. People may be asked to email a photo to help determine if the animal needs to come into care. As baby season begins, this will become even more important so that no one makes a trip for a healthy baby that does not need help. Reuniting information for healthy orphans can be found at https://www.giveshelter.org/wildlife-center/orphaned-wild-animal.
3. If the Wildlife Center determines the animal should come in for care, the DCHS will gather all the information needed for the admission form over the phone, and then provide an appointment time to arrive at the wildlife center with the animal. Appointment times are staggered so people dropping off animals will not encounter each other.
4. Animals should be transported in a container that is not needed back as transportation containers will not be returned.
5. When arriving at the Wildlife Center, the container with the animal secured inside is left at the drop-off location; ring the doorbell to alert staff.
6. Wildlife staff will come out to pick up the animal from the drop off site after the person has safely left the area.
“The Dane County region cares deeply for wildlife and we are a resource for those who find a wild animal in need of assistance and those looking to help wildlife in our community. We are asking the public to visit giveshelter.org for more information before intervening with a wild animal. The site can aid in determining if help is truly needed before calling the Wildlife Center to make an appointment for a contactless drop-off of wildlife,” said DCHS Director of Development and Marketing Amy Good.
Dane County Humane Society, including the Wildlife Center, is a private, local, nonprofit organization and is not a government agency or part of a national animal welfare organization. The shelter relies on community support and donations in order to operate growing programs like the wildlife rehabilitation program. The average cost of care for a wild animal admitted to the Wildlife Center is $100. Learn more about DCHS’s Wildlife Center and donate at giveshelter.org.