Community members of all ages learned about efforts to save injured or orphaned wild animals, and got to meet some of those saved by the Aark Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center of Chalfont.
Nick Brewster, Aark’s director of education, conducted a one-hour presentation Saturday in a program hosted by the nonprofit Friends of the Doylestown Library. He introduced the crowd to a tree frog, turtles, a corn snake, a screech owl, and a redtail hawk, all rescued by Aark.
Each year, Aark treats over 6,000 animals, making it the busiest wildlife rehabilitation center in Pennsylvania. Brewster emphasized that Aark works to reintroduce most of the animals it treats back into the wild when their treatment and rehab are completed, but some of the animals are brought to the center with conditions that would prevent them from living on their own.
For example, he introduced the crowd to Harry, an adult screech owl who miraculously survived a collision with a car, but lost one eye in the accident, preventing him from being able to hunt for prey. Likewise, Windsor, an adult female redtail hawk, was found with one eye and emaciated because she was unable to hunt without the acute vision for which hawks are known.
“Normally, she could see a mouse on the ground from 1,000 feet up, but with one eye she lacks the depth perception to hunt like that,” Brewster said.
He encouraged those attending the presentation to contact Aark right away if they find a wild animal needing help, explaining that well-meaning people often try to nurse injured or orphaned animals back to health, but may feed or care for them in ways that prevent the animals from surviving in the wild.
Aark was founded in 1979 and is run by a staff of wildlife professionals and more than 100 trained volunteers, who provide care for the many animals in the center’s care. For information, or to report an injured or orphaned wild animal, contact Aark at 215-249-1938 or visit Aark.org.