Within the first hour of business on Wednesday, the Stanislaus Wildlife Care Center did intake on a turtle, nine possums and a hawk and supervised the hatching of a songbird.
That is “business as usual” in the springtime, said the center’s executive director, Donna Burt.
Burt said about 75 percent of the the 2,300 animals the center cares for each year are brought there from mid-April to July.
“That is when the birds are laying eggs and the mammals are having babies and that is when the babies fall out of the nest or the cat drags them in or the nest gets disturbed,” Burt said.
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In its 32nd year, the center cares for and rehabilitates injured and orphaned native wild animals so that they can be released back into their natural environment. “Everything from bats to bobcats and hummingbirds to eagles” Burt said.
It operates with four employees, 40 volunteers and an annual budget of just $100,000, made up entirely of donations from the public. That is why its two fundraising events each year are so important.
The first of those events, its Baby Animal Shower, is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Wildlife Center inside Fox Grove Fishing Access, 1220 Geer Road, Hughson.
The center’s animal ambassadors, animals that couldn’t be rehabilitated, will be on display. Many of these animals travel to schools to help students learn about California native wildlife. Hopper the raven, Poe the crow, Jet the American kestrel, Carson the red-tailed hawk and Titus the great-horned owl are a few of the animals that will be on display.
Baby animals in rehab will not be on display. But, for the first time, the public can watch a live video of them being fed.
There will be games, cookies and punch, face painting, T-shirts for sale and kid’s crafts.
There is no admission charge, but a list of suggested gifts is on the center’s website at StanislausWildlife.org. Gift items include paper towels, postage stamps, receiving blankets, bleach, new heating pads (not with auto shut-off), 13-gallon trash bags, Dawn dishwashing liquid, small and medium Playtex gloves, liquid laundry soap, baby travel playpens and money.
Burt said the center’s most immediate need is a new fence. The fence around the property is falling down and will cost about $3,500 to replace.