Sunday, January 2, 2011

The ‘call of the wild’ for volunteers

Volunteering at a wildlife center is very different from volunteering at an animal shelter or sanctuary. It's not about cuddling, petting or socializing, but about doing things for and with wild animals while still assuring they stay wild. Then when eventually released, they're still suspicious of humans and don't need them for food or security.

The Mercer County Wildlife Center, on Rt. 29 near Lambertville, has been the subject of a couple blog posts here, most recently late last month/year. Now the center has announced its annual orientation sessions for prospective new volunteers: Sunday, January 30, 10-11 am and Saturday, Feb. 5, 10-11 am, both at the center.

Highlights from the orientation press release follow:
MCWC, which treated 2,300 birds, mammals and reptiles in 2010, is seeking volunteers to care for animals brought to the Hopewell Township facility.

The Center's staff and volunteers care for native wild animals who are injured, ill, or displaced, and provide medical treatment and a temporary refuge to prepare them for release into an appropriate wild habitat. Staffed 365 days a year by one full-time licensed wildlife rehabilitator and two full-time assistants, the center receives more than 11,000 phone calls annually.

To work directly with the animals, volunteers must be at least 18 years old, have had a current tetanus vaccine, and attend either of the two orientation sessions. They must commit to a weekly four-hour shift from April through October (the busiest season). This is necessitated by feeding schedule requirements and housing demands of the animals.

The Wildlife Center is located on Route 29, about three miles south of Lambertville and 12 miles north of Trenton. To register for either orientation session or for more information, phone Jane Rakos-Yates, volunteer coordinator, at 609-883-6606, ext. 103. On the Web:

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