Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

First place:The Stare © Brad Bellise

First place:The Stare
© Brad Bellise

June 2015

And the winners are...

"Focus on wildlife" contest reminds us to take photos but leave wildlife in the wild.

Jessica Montez

Dane County Humane Societyís Four Lakes Wildlife Center held its third annual "Focus on Wildlife" photo contest, which benefits the rehabilitation facility and the continued care of ill, injured and orphaned wildlife.

FLWC training and fundraising coordinator, Jackie Edmunds, organized this yearís event, which received 69 submissions that were voted on by friends and family. The contest featured original and scenic photographs that reveal the natural character and beauty of wild animals.

Second place:Silhouette of Deer © Richard Russell
Second place:Silhouette of Deer
© Richard Russell

The center has had substantial growth since its 2002 opening, with patient intake growing to over 3,000 admits, requiring more caretakers. The center began with a small group of volunteers and now operates with a small staff and a large volunteer base. Nearly 150 volunteers from various backgrounds help to cover medical, general caretaking and receptionist duties. Volunteers also help build outdoor structures for recovering wildlife during their final phases of rehabilitation.

FLWC has recently expanded its animal intake capabilities to include animals such as raptors and bats.

In order to understand wildlife better, a need for establishing a baseline for wild animals and their survivability after release was something Edmunds realized was lacking in rehabilitation research, specifically in red– tailed hawks.

"Basically, we donít know enough about these wild animals that we take care of," Edmunds says.

Third place: Blue Jay Close–Up © Mitchell Lutzke
Third place: Blue Jay Close–Up
© Mitchell Lutzke

During the rehabilitation process, staff establish a baseline for basic blood work values, weight and other vital health information. Upon release, the movement of these hawks can be continually monitored to determine their success in the wild after rehabilitation. Edmunds will use the data collected to educate the wildlife rehabilitation community.

Injured cave bats, or those disturbed from hibernation too early, can also now call FLWC their temporary home. With the arrival of white– nose syndrome in southern Wisconsin, modified housing regulations have increased the need for more facilities equipped to handle bats. FLWC, by admitting injured bats from the southwest region, is helping with the higher intake of bats at specialty rehabilitation centers.

FLWC funding primarily comes from donations from the public and raising money for a new building is on the list. The red barn at the center has gone through several transformations, but the ever growing number of patients requires more space and updated equipment. At the end stage of rehabilitation, eagles require a large area to rebuild their strength and need to be transferred to a flight pen. FLWC is also working on funding for a 100– foot flight pen for recovering raptors.

"Most of the animals are coming in with human– caused injuries, so be more aware of your surroundings and be good stewards of the environment," Edmunds says.

For more information on patients, ongoing projects or how to donate, go to the Dane County Humane Society .

Jessica Montez is an intern for Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine and a volunteer for the Four Lakes Wildlife Center.