Willowbrook Wildlife Center May Soon Stop Taking In Animal Orphans

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The Willowbrook Wildlife Center may soon have to stop taking in spring baby animals orphans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staff Being Limited

Willowbrook is following recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s on social distancing and as a result they’ve limited workers at the center to paid staff only. This may affect the amount of wildlife orphans they can take in.

“We haven’t hit a limit for what we can take in yet. We are by no means at the busiest part of the season and so it may happen unfortunately,” said Willowbrook’s Staff Veterinarian Sarah Reich

When Will They Close?

Reich said the center isn’t putting a cap on the number of orphans Willowbrook can take in; rather they are weighing if they can provide care for the animals that are already being treated, before they consider taking in more.

She also noted the center may stop taking in orphans if staff members feel overwhelmed. Currently Willowbrook has six staff members taking care of around 300 animals.

“It’s a lot. Yesterday, we took in almost 70 animals in one day,” said Reich. “We had a day last week [that] we took in over 100, and that’s only going to increase as the days go on.”

Reich expects in a couple of weeks the center will see its peak of animal orphans.

How Community Members Can Help

As most community members are currently home, she’s encouraging them to help out by limiting activities that will increase the likelihood of animal orphaning.

“People have been cutting down trees non-stop, well squirrels, Eastern Screech Shells, Great Horns [all] nest in trees. If those trees come down then what is mom and dad going to do? So those babies end up being orphaned,” said Reich. “If you have a litter of kits or foxes under your shed, let them live under your shed. They aren’t going to bother anyone. They’ll be gone in a couple of months.”

Online Resources

The Willowbrook Wildlife Center’s website also provides advice on how to tell if an animal needs help and what you should do. They are recommending calling them first before bringing in an animal. You can also check their website for the latest information on whether they are accepting animals.

Naperville News 17’s Christian Canizal reports.


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