Like many other Americans, the Wildlife Center staff are preparing Thanksgiving dinner today – for a guest list of 114! Rehabilitator Shannon and extern students Jackie and Madeline will be busily catering to the dozens of birds, mammals, and reptiles that are at the Center right now, which includes both recovering patients and our permanent education ambassadors.
Instead of a traditional family-style Thanksgiving meal, where big bowls of mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce are passed around the table, the Wildlife Center crew need to make dozens of species-specific diets, which cater to each species' needs and each patient's particular desires. Some of these meals are easy to prepare; for example, the owls and hawks at the Center will be served mice. Other patients, like our nine Eastern Gray Squirrels, will each get a dish of mixed veggies, nuts, seeds, dog chow, and rodent chow. The two biggest eaters being served today are the two bear cubs – nearly yearlings! – housed in the Center's half-acre bear yard. Together, their meals of nuts, seeds, veggies, fruits, insects, and dog food weigh about 16 pounds!
While the rehabilitation team is busy making and delivering food, Dr. Karra and veterinary technician Jess, along with students Kennedy, Alizee, Tyler, and Emily, will be treating the Wildlife Center's patients as usual – the 53 animals that are receiving medications, bandage changes, or specialized feeding. Hospital Cam viewers became familiar with the current caseload on Tuesday and saw many of the patients that will be receiving treatments today, including three hit-by-vehicle screech-owls, an injured Bald Eagle, and several Eastern Box Turtles with shell fractures.
By the time the staff goes home to their Thanksgiving dinners, all 114 animals will be fed, watered, and cared for. And, Dr. Karra will remain on call in case any other last-minute "guests" need to be added to the roster!
The Center is able to provide quality health-care to wild animals in need – 365 days a year – through the generosity and support of caring individuals. We send you our best wishes for a wonderful holiday. Our patients are thankful for your support … and so are we!