Each year on May 23, wildlife enthusiasts, educators, and advocates around the globe celebrate a special holiday – World Turtle Day! Officially created in 2000, World Turtle Day was launched by the American Tortoise Rescue to bring attention to, and increase knowledge of and respect for, turtles and tortoises, and to encourage human action to help them survive and thrive.
As one of the world’s leading teaching hospitals for wildlife medicine, the Wildlife Center of Virginia has a core mission to teach the world to care about and care for wildlife and the environment. This news page collects stories of the Center’s expertise in action.
In 2021, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation to provide greater protection for wild reptiles and amphibians. These species have been vulnerable to a number of increasing pressures in recent years, including habitat loss, disease, and illegal wildlife trafficking.
On April 1, a Bald Eagle nest at Seven Bends State Park in Shenandoah County blew out of its tree. Eagle biologists monitored the situation and found that during the next week, the parent eagles continued to feed their offspring, but by April 8, the biologists suspected that the young eaglet was not using its wings properly. State eagle biologist Jeff Cooper decided to bring the young bird to the Wildlife Center of Virginia for further assessment.
On April 23, two Bald Eagles were seen fighting in King William County, Virginia. One bird flew off and was unable to be caught, but the second large eagle was found down on the ground with several wounds on her face and feet. The bird was taken to Tidewater Wildlife Rescue for stabilization, and transported to the Wildlife Center of Virginia for treatment the following day.
Spring is in full-swing here in Virginia, and the overall patient load at the Wildlife Center is growing by the week. As of May 15, more than 1,100 individual animals have been admitted – nearly one third of the total number of admissions expected for 2023. Currently, about 218 wild animals are actively receiving veterinary and rehabilitative care.
Mother’s Day is a special time to celebrate motherhood and maternal bonds in their many forms. This year, the Wildlife Center of Virginia is recognizing one matriarch in particular – a hard-working, dedicated mother of eight: Virginia opossum #23-0695.
In the early afternoon on April 27, a railway conductor in Tazewell County saw a young bear cub near the bodies of a deceased sow and cub that had likely been hit by a train. Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources staff were alerted, and the cub was safely captured in a nearby creek after running away during the rescue attempt. The cub was transported to the Wildlife Center of Virginia later that same day.