Lily: 2007-2010

Lily (Virginia Opossum)   Spring 2007 – September 27, 2010 The Wildlife Center lost a valued member of its educational animal ambassador team in late September when Lily the Virginia Opossum passed away. Lily was brought to the Wildlife Center of Virginia during the summer of 2007, after being rescued from a dog attack (about 13 percent of the animals brought to the Wildlife Center are victims of domestic-animal attacks) and living for three months in the home of her rescuer.  If Lily had come to the Wildlife Center immediately after the attack, she probably could have been returned to the wild; however, by the time she arrived she was too tame to be released.  Instead, Lily joined the Wildlife Center’s Education Department, becoming one of about 20 non-releasable wild animals who help our educators illustrate the problems faced by Virginia’s wildlife. During her three years at the Wildlife Center, Lily appeared in 423 environmental education programs and was seen by nearly 55,000 people.  Her last appearance was just a week before her death, at a program delivered to 100 first-graders at Brownsville Elementary School in Crozet.   She was a favorite with adults and children alike, helping to educate people about the risk to wildlife of free-roaming pets and the dangers that food and trash thrown from cars pose to opossums and other animals.         Lily’s fondness for bananas and ability to sleep through anything endeared her to Wildlife Center staff.   She snoozed contentedly in her crate while being transported around the state for education programs and often napped in an educator's arms as she was displayed to audiences that might include several hundred enthusiastic children.  At 3½ years old, she had lived a long time for an opossum (opossums in the wild rarely live beyond two years).  Through her years of service, Lily left a positive impression of an animal that is frequently misunderstood and disliked.   Through the Center's Caring for Critters program, you can "adopt" one of the Center's education opossums ... or a hawk, eagle, owl, or reptile.  Your Caring for Critters donation helps provide food, shelter and medical care for the sponsored animal … supports the Center’s educational programs … and helps provide state-of-the-art emergency care to thousands of animals admitted to the Wildlife Center each year.