By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
The “Think Wild” animal hospital on Bend’s east side is nearing completion and should be ready to receive and treat injured wildlife this summer.
“Eagles, hawks, owls. Babies or adults. Any other animals you guys can guess? Maybe squirrels? Lot’s of squirrels too….”
The facility on Erickson Road in northeast Bend will allow volunteer veterinarians to treat animals hit by cars or get tangled up in barbed wire fences. For the last couple of years it’s handled 5,000 calls to help injured wildlife, annually.
“We want to serve as a resource for Central Oregon to rescue and rehabilitate wildlife,” said Sally Compton, Think Wild executive director. “We coordinate with other wildlife centers on the proper transport and care of animals.”
By far, the most interesting part of the tour for this group of students was the kitchen, where they got to help assemble a meal for some orphaned raccoons.
Feeding the wildlife requires wearing camouflage so animals don’t become accustomed to people. this way, they will be able to fend for themselves when they are returned to the wild.
With spring approaching, wildlife experts anticipate they’ll receive calls about baby birds that fall out of their nests.
“A lot of times with baby birds they might just be ready to fledge so that’s why you might find one on the ground. In those scenarios they don’t need to be brought to a rehab center.” Compton said. “They can be put back into the nest or just left on the ground and the mother will take care of them.”
Think Wild needs more donations to build additional rehabilitation enclosures for birds and small mammals. It hopes to eventually be capable of helping everything from raptors to rabbits.
The hospital is also looking for volunteers to help with routine tasks and veterinary students who want experience nursing injured wild animals back to health.