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It’s not often you see items like leather safety gloves, freeze-dried brine shrimp, and bug spray on a baby shower wishlist — but this isn’t your typical baby shower either.

Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge in Medford is holding its third annual Wildlife Baby Shower Sunday, Feb. 27, as it prepares for the upcoming arrival of thousands of injured and orphaned wild animals at its Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital.

Heather Evans, assistant director of wildlife rehabilitation and volunteer coordinator at Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge in Medford, speaks to Jesse, a red-tailed hawk, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022. Jesse was found at a golf course in Riverton and is believed to have been raised by humans, and because of this ÒimprintingÓ is unreleasable.Lori M. Nichols | NJ Advance Media for
“A lot of the animals that we get in are squirrels, and baby squirrel season is coming up,” said Evans, adding that she expects the first of the baby squirrels to arrive within the next few weeks.

“Over the next six months, we’re going to take in about 4,000 animals,” she said. “The bulk of those are going to be squirrels, rabbits, opossums and songbirds, and 90 to 95% of the numbers are going to be babies. So that’s why we’re going to have this baby shower, to kind of gather all of those needed supplies.”

Staff and volunteers at the wildlife hospital work to stabilize and treat each animal that arrives. The primary goal is to rehabilitate and release each animal back into their natural environment. But sometimes an accident leads to a permanent injury which makes it unsafe for the animal to be released back into the wild. Injuries such as impaired vision or a broken wing would prevent an animal from being able to protect itself or finding food.
Harriet is one of the resident red-tailed hawks at Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge in Medford, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022. Harriet arrived in the fall of 2018 after being hit by a car, which damaged her left wing and cost her one of her toes. The wing injury affected her ability to fly, so she can not be released back into the wild.Lori M. Nichols | NJ Advance Media for

Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge has a Wildlife Housing Area to care for such animals. Harriet, one of a few resident red-tailed hawks, arrived in the fall of 2018 after being hit by a car. The injury to her left wing was severe enough that it left her unable to fly properly. She is currently being trained to be one of the refuge’s Wildlife Ambassadors.

Gemma, an Eastern screech owl, was found in Marlton in 2012, having suffered a left wing fracture from an impact injury which left her too flight-impaired to be released. Nazar, another Eastern screech owl, arrived at the refuge in 2016, and was found to be nearly blind. Both Gemma and Nazar are education team members.
But permanent injury is not how all of the 60 or so resident animals came to live at the refuge. When a human takes in a baby animal from the wild with the intention of keeping it, that animal becomes dependent on humans for the rest of their lives, as they have lost their natural fear of humans and do not know how to feed or protect themselves on their own, according to information on the refuge’s website.
Heather Evans, assistant director of wildlife rehabilitation and volunteer coordinator at Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge in Medford, holds Nod, an Eastern box turtle, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022.Lori M. Nichols | NJ Advance Media for
Apollo, a turkey vulture, was found in someone’s backyard in 2014, believed to have had a flight injury. But upon closer examination, he was found to be imprinted — human raised — and unreleasable due to his inability to survive on his own.
Sassafras, a white-tailed deer, has been here since 2003. “She is another one of those stories, we all shake our heads,” said Evans. “She was found walking on the side of the road in Gloucester County with a pink leash and collar and she was about a year old when they found her.”
Bald eagles Hallie and Orion look on in their enclosure at Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge in Medford, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022. Hallie, who had been attacked and injured by crows when she was a nestling, and Orion, who suffered severe wing injuries and blindness in his right eye after a collision with high tension wires, came to the refuge from Wyoming. Lori M. Nichols | NJ Advance Media for

The Wildlife Baby Shower is being held on Feb. 27 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Medford United Methodist Church, 2 Hartford Rd. Some of the refuge’s Wildlife Ambassadors, including Nod, will be there, and there will also be games, crafts and light refreshments. Admission is an item from the wishlist, or a $5 donation, per person.

If you can’t make it to the baby shower but still want to help, there are several ways to donate, including “Adopt a Wild One” and an “Guardians of the Wild” annual sponsorship, or purchasing items on the Amazon wishlist. The wildlife hospital admits more than 6,000 animals each year, and receives no local, state, or federal funding.

Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge, located at 4 Sawmill Road in Medford, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission fees are $10 for those 13 years old and older and $5 for children ages 4 to 12. Children 3 years old and younger are free.

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Source: Baby shower planned to help animals arriving at this N.J. wildlife refuge

Posted in 2022, General Animal News
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