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Virginians are lucky to enjoy four distinct seasons each year, each one reflected in the changing natural scenery. While the winters are generally mild, temperatures do dip below freezing and bring the occasional snowfall. During these months, the wildlife have many ways to adapt.
  • Water makes up more than half of the human body, and nearly three-quarters of the earth itself. It’s easy to take something so ubiquitous for granted, but it is more important than ever to protect our watersheds for the good of all the life they sustain. Virginia has more than a dozen major watersheds, including the Chesapeake Bay. Each of these includes all the major tributaries that feed into them, including rivers like the James, and all of the smaller creeks and streams that feed those tributaries.
  • Virginia boasts some of the most diverse landscapes in the nation, from the rocky peaks of Shenandoah to the sandy expanses of the Eastern Shore. Over centuries, as more and more humans have made themselves at home here, there have been significant changes to the land. Forests have given way to crops, paths have evolved into highways, and wetlands have been drained and filled to create neighborhoods.
  • Citizen science lets members of the general public collect and analyze scientific data that is helpful to a broader research effort. In recent years, technology has made it easier than ever to crowdsource this data from everyday people.
  • Predators are an important part of a healthy ecosystem. Learn how we can coexist by changing our attitudes and developing a better understanding of Predators.
  • Virginia wildlife hospital treats thousands each year. Every animal comes with a lesson.Understand that the ending isn’t always happy. It’s unfortunate, but death is a part of wildlife rehabilitation. Although it’s sad when an animal doesn’t survive its experience, they can still offer information that benefits others, everywhere from the veterinary lab to the airport.
  • A new season of UNTAMED will premiere on April 21.
  • Working to protect natural habitats is a noble pursuit for people who love animals, but the benefits go far beyond wildlife. The natural world also does wonders for the minds and spirits of its human visitors.
  • Leave No Trace aims to increase responsible enjoyment of the natural world by teaching and inspiring people to leave outdoor recreation spaces as good as we found them. It was established in response to growing problems that stemmed from human carelessness: dangerous litter, polluted water, even devastating forest fires.
  • The hard work of wildlife conservation can happen in many settings. Sometimes it’s at the roadside, carefully collecting an injured animal. Or it might be in a veterinary hospital, cleaning wounds, X-raying wings or performing delicate surgeries.
  • The goal of wildlife rehabilitation is to release healthy, recovered animals back to their natural habitats as fully functioning wild animals. But what happens when animals can’t be released? Sometimes, they may be suitable for a new job: an education ambassador at the Wildlife Center of Virginia.
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    In wildlife rehabilitation, the goal is always to return a healthy animal to its natural habitat. Each species has very specific requirements for survival, and its natural habitat is one that offers the food, water, shelter and landscape it needs.
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    If you find a wild animal that seems sick, injured or orphaned, your first step is to determine whether you should intervene. An adult animal may feel threatened and become dangerously aggressive. A baby deer that looks abandoned might have a mother around the corner, and a juvenile squirrel might be perfectly fine on its own.
  • Watch
    Join us each week for UNTAMED as Ed Clark, the staff at the The Wildlife Center of Virginia and other wildlife conservation professionals discuss the issues facing wildlife and what we can do to make a difference. UNTAMED premieres Thursday, April 1 at 8:00 p.m. on VPM PBS.
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    Wildlife rehabilitation handles a wide variety of animals, and all of the misfortunes they might encounter: cat attacks, lead poisoning, vehicle accidents and entanglement injuries, just to name a few.
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    For example, when a number of box turtles were being treated for severe sinus and ear infections, it was clear that a root cause needed to be investigated. These turtles were often so severely affected that their heads were too swollen to retract into their shells. Examinations showed a common thread: They were deficient in vitamin A. In order to spot and investigate problems on this scale, a lot of details are needed. The intake of each animal involves multiple questions: Where was it found? Were there others nearby? What are its symptoms? What is known about how it was injured?
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    Millions of animals around the globe are migrating as they always have. Whales, caribou and hundreds of other species roam great distances in search of better places for eating, mating and bearing their young.
  • Veterinary training at the Wildlife Center of Virginia has several goals. First, these future veterinarians and veterinary technicians provide medical care to the center’s many patients. The goal is to eventually return these animals to their natural environments, when they are well enough to be safe there. These students also conduct health studies on wildlife to enhance their understanding of common diseases, and help to share information about wildlife health to policymakers and the general public.
  • It’s important to remember that domestic cats are not wild animals. About half of the domestic cats wandering freely in the United States are feral, meaning they have no human owners. But even those are domestic cats and lack the behaviors and characteristics of true wildlife. For example, they don’t control their population according to the availability of their prey, as most wild predators do.
  • Human habits are the root cause of plenty of illness and injury, some man-made technology is crucial to guiding these wild patients back to health.
  • You have probably encountered a wild animal that is sick, injured or orphaned. While it’s tempting to take these creatures under your own wing and nurse them back to health, they will usually need a trained wildlife rehabilitator to get back on the right track. Their goal is to help animals become strong and healthy enough to return to their natural habitats.
  • We’ve all seen how bottles, cans, cups, wrappers, cigarette butts and straws can accumulate along roadways and in nature. But you’re also contributing to litter when you release helium balloons at a party, or set aside some fishing line and tackle at the river.
  • you can create the perfect wildlife retreat right outside your door. The trick is to create a welcoming habitat for a variety of animals, and it needs just four things: food, water, shelter and safety.
  • So how does a bird get lead poisoning? It starts with hunting. When big game such as deer are shot with a lead bullet, that bullet often shatters into fragments inside the animal. If the hunter field dresses the animal, removing its entrails on the spot, many of those fragments are left behind.
  • To learn more about these and other animals, have a look at the Education Animals cared for by the Wildlife Center of Virginia. Each one was treated for some kind of illness or injury, but deemed non-releasable because of lingering issues that could make it unsafe in the wild. You’ll be amazed at what these creatures have survived!
  • Human and animal habitats have always overlapped, and several factors can push us even closer into each other’s space. New construction, flooded lands and unseasonal temperatures can all contribute to more active wildlife around your home. And you may have inadvertently invited some new neighbors and visitors with your own behavior.