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November 16, 2009

An Eagle Eye on Wildlife

Last Friday, I paid a visit to our newest animal care center—the SPCA Wildlife Care Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. It’s one of five animal care centers we operate, with three specializing in rescuing and releasing wildlife. It handles nearly 14,000 animals a year, including raptors, raccoons, rabbits, and turtles.

The goal is to nurse animals back to health and then return them to the wild, and on the morning I was there, a Cooper’s hawk was ready for release. He had come in just a couple of days before, and had been knocked unconscious, perhaps having slammed into a window. But the fast-flying bird made a lightning quick recovery, and our team of wildlife veterinarians and release coordinator Greg Adler, pictured in the video, made the judgment that he was ready to be independent again.

Captive settings should be a temporary resting and healing place for animals, except if they have a permanent disability or behavioral condition that precludes their return. So for me, it was a thrill to see this hawk take to the air again (click here to see the video).

Even in crowded south Florida, there is an abundance of wildlife. Human-wildlife encounters are everywhere, and unfortunately some of them result in harm, usually to the animals. The SPCA Wildlife Care Center is there to give the animals a second chance, and to give people a primary education in preventing harmful encounters in the first place. Please do support the work of this center. You can make a dedicated donation by going to this page.

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