2019 Year in Review: Génesis Aponte-Santiago, Front-desk Coordinator

It’s time to look back on 2019! Check our blog between Christmas and New Year’s for a variety of stories and memories of 2019 from the staff and volunteers of the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

Despite only being at the Wildlife Center for a few months, there have been plenty of memorable events since I began at the front desk in September. Before coming to work here at the Center, I have only had a bit of experience handling small birds through education work. 

After getting an opportunity to work with the rehabilitation and veterinary teams for a few days, I was able to learn and improve proper handling techniques for our larger raptor patients that needed their daily meals and treatments. 

Little did I know, my training was going to be put to the test just a few short weeks later. We received a call that there were four Red-tailed hawks coming in from a rehabilitator in the Tidewater area of Virginia. As the newest member of the team, I was tasked to be in charge of this particular intake to gain more experience.

Caroline helped me prep four crates for these birds in our waiting room. After putting on gloves and eye protection, I prepared myself to move these hawks, one by one, from their transporter containers to our crates, while making sure not to mix up their identities. I moved them carefully while also identifying any possible injuries these hawks may have sustained. The transfer was a success without any complications! 

In addition to their admission, I was lucky enough to help coordinate three of these hawks’ releases back to the rehabilitator once the rehab team deemed them healthy enough to survive in the wild on their own! We arranged transport for these birds back to the city where they were rescued. 

This experience helped improve my confidence in the intake of challenging birds. It was the largest intake of wild animals at once that I’ve experienced since working at the Center. I feel very fortunate to have had this experience and to have seen their journey from initial intake to their releases.

-- Génesis, Front-desk Coordinator

Check out all of our year-in-review posts!

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