During May 2022 a young Eastern Cottontail was admitted to the Wildlife Center of Virginia in need of care. The veterinary and rehabilitation staff anticipate caring for hundreds of cottontails each year, especially during the spring and summer months, but this specific individual represented an incredible milestone in the Center’s history: it was the 90,000th patient admitted since our founding in 1982!
Nearly 40 years ago, the Wildlife Center of Virginia was formed to provide quality health care, often on an emergency basis, to native wildlife. During the past four decades, our dedicated team of veterinarians and wildlife rehabilitators has provided such care for more than 90,000 animals representing more than 200 species of native birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. From bullfrogs to Black Bears, the range and diversity of species treated at the Center highlight the inherent value that all wild animals possess, regardless of size, shape, or public perception.
Each patient – from the Center’s first to its 90,000th and beyond -- is an opportunity to uphold our guiding mission statement, “teaching the world to care about and care for wildlife and the environment.” Many of the veterinary and rehabilitation students who receive hands-on training at the Center are now found on the cutting-edge of wildlife veterinary medicine around the world, and through the Center’s outreach and education efforts, the lessons that can be learned from these patients’ stories have been shared with well over 1.5 million schoolchildren and adults.
While it’s not possible to predict what or when the next milestone admission may be, one thing is guaranteed: our staff, students, volunteers, and supporters will share its story and the valuable lessons therein, “teaching the world” one wild life at a time.