Wildlife Rehab Volunteers

Busy days, we all have them, but at Freedom Center for Wildlife these are our busy months! We are into baby season and already the days are full. As the weather gets warmer our workload increases with every baby squirrel, orphaned nestling bird or injured animal brought to the center. There is a lot that goes into caring for our wildlife patients, whether they are with us for a few days or months. It’s more than just making sure they are fed. Depending on the species, age, injury or circumstance, many different factors are considered to create a care plan. Where to house them, how often do they need to be fed, medications, wound care, temperature and lighting are just a few examples we consider. This is done for each individual animal brought to the center; add that up with all of the intakes this season and it’s a lot of work to be done. We rely on our awesome volunteers to help us out at the center and always have a need for additional help.

Each day there are animals that need to be fed and watered. Changing water bowls can sometimes be an hourly occurrence. Baby mammals get formula anywhere from 2 to 5 times a day, and as they grow, transition to solid food which might need to be made 3 times a day. Nestling birds get fed every 30 minutes!  Injured adult animals need food prepared as well. With all of that food being eaten there’s bound to be a lot of, yep you guessed it, poop! The animal enclosures need to be cleaned, sometimes several times a day. We go through lots of towels, sheets, blankets and knit hats. So the laundry can pile up fast and needs to be done as well. Helping with baby feedings, food prep and cleanup is essential work our volunteers perform.

Injured patients present different challenges and demands. Their injuries will dictate how they are housed, handling techniques, types of foods given and how often they will need supportive care. Some volunteers can be trained to help with this work as well. A raptor with a bandaged wing may require three people to change the bandage. Also while a patient is removed from the enclosure for medical care that’s a great time to clean it out, requiring an additional person. So lots for a volunteer to help out with!
This is all happening inside the rehabilitation center but outside there are animals that need care too.  Our wildlife patients are moved to outdoor enclosures during their time with us before release.  Just like in the center, these animals need to be fed, watered and the enclosures cleaned.

Another consideration for all of our patients is that they are wild animals and we need to keep them wild.  So we do all of the daily work knowing we need to keep contact to a minimum, trying to reduce stress on the animal as much as possible. That baby rabbit is so very cute, but no snuggling allowed! We want to help them be able to lead the wild lives they were meant to, when they are released from our care.
Not only are there opportunities for animal care volunteers, but we are also always looking for anyone that can help with cage construction and other handyman work, as well as anyone that has experience with writing grants and organizing fundraising activities!

If you think that volunteering at Freedom Center for Wildlife is a good fit for you and want to make a difference for the wildlife of New Jersey, please contact our volunteer coordinator at courtney@freedomcenterforwildlife.org or call us at 856-366-4114. We cannot do what we do without all the wonderful volunteers!

– Michael Ginder @FCW