OCONOMOWOC, Wis. — The Wildlife In Need Center in Oconomowoc has rehabilitated thousands of wild animals since it began in 1994.
What You Need To Know
- The Wildlife In Need Center in Oconomowoc has rehabilitated thousands of wild animals since it began in 1994
- When an animal is brought to the center, staff and volunteers will do everything they can to nurse the animal back to health before it’s released back into the wild
- The care team is often quick and calm with animals, as many have been through trauma
- The center is open 365 days a year and operates as a nonprofit
When an animal is brought to the center, staff and volunteers will do everything they can to nurse the animal back to health before it’s released back into the wild.
Elisa Fosco is the director of animal care at the center. Her first patient one afternoon was a 1-year-old juvenile red-tailed hawk. Fosco said the bird was found in a warehouse with a damaged wing.
“She is just healing slowly, so hopefully in another week or two she will be flying, and we will be able to get her back out, not in a warehouse this time,” said Fosco.
The next animal Fosco saw was an opossum that was attacked by dogs. A family found it and brought it to the Wildlife In Need Center.
Since all the animals treated at the center have been through some kind of trauma, Fosco said the care team must be quick and calm.
“It’s an asset to have something like this in the community because there are enough people out there that care about animals when they find them, and want somewhere to take them to help,” said Fosco.
Kim Banach is the executive director of the Wildlife In Need Center. She said the center’s team has taken care of 98 different species of animals this year alone. She credits the community with making it possible.
“We are a nonprofit,” said Banach. “We are open 365 days a year and we operate on our fundraising efforts only. We do not get any government funding. We have events, fundraisers and a membership option, so donations are critical to running our mission.”
Fosco has 37 years of experience caring for wildlife. She originally set out to be a veterinarian, but found her true calling after volunteering in wildlife rehabilitation.
“There’s so little knowledge out there,” said Fosco. “There’s so much help needed, so I just kind of followed that little detour, but I think it’s nice to help the animals that can’t speak up for themselves.”
For everyone at the Wildlife In Need Center, there is nothing more gratifying than seeing a once injured animal return to its natural habitat and thrive.