RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Beau the tortoise is busy making his rounds. He has to make sure everything is in order at the Richmond Wildlife Center. It’s the first and only animal hospital of its kind in the area.
“Surgical, Medical, Ophthalmology, Radiology, In-house lab work, Pharmacy,” Founder and Executive Director Melissa Stanley goes down the list of services. “We’re essentially a full-scale veterinary facility for wildlife.”
Stanley wears many hats at the center. On any given day, you will find her helping snapping turtles get their shots. Opossums need a watch over while wounds heal. Others have a physical therapy session or two.
“Things like hawks and owls that are getting hit by a car and they’re having fractures,” Stanley explains. “We can actually pin those fractures and repair them, get them back out into the wild.”
Since opening in April 2013, this center has cared for more than 800 patients. Each one is handled only once or twice a day so they can be released unaffected when they are better.
It’s also a sanctuary for exotic pets that were abandoned. While animals ranging from chinchillas to doves wait for their forever homes, the center is home.
Education is also a focus. Permanent residents like Beau are part of programs teaching children and adults how their actions can affect wild animals and how a hospital like this can help.
“They’re flying into our windows, we’re hitting them with our cars,” says Stanley about the human impact on wildlife. “We want to get them back home where they belong, where they’re happy.”
The Richmond Wildlife Center does not receive any government funding and runs only on donations. There are always volunteer and fundraising opportunities available.
Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond