Bo, a barn owl at Chintimini Wildlife Center, stands with his head turned to the left

Bo, a Barn Owl Ambassador Animal at Chintimini – Photo by Claire A. Peterson

Chintimini Wildlife Center provides an invaluable service to our community. The Center takes in injured and orphaned wildlife, with the goal of reintroducing them to their natural habitat. And Chintimini’s vibrant nature programs foster a meaningful connection between people and the natural world, by providing us with a close-up understanding of the non-human creatures who also call Benton County “home.”

Unfortunately, because of social distancing requirements, Chintimini has had to cancel its spring education programs and send home most of its wildlife rehab volunteers. The center has also had to postpone its two main annual fundraiser events, meaning less money to fund operations in the coming year. Yet staff are still needed to care for the Center’s permanent residents – the dozen or so non-releasable animals, most of them hawks and owls – who serve as educational ambassadors. In addition, springtime is the busy season for orphaned wildlife needing care.

Executive Director Sarah Spangler anticipates she and her staff will still be able to meet the needs of incoming wildlife, but she urges community members to be especially vigilant this spring about preventing wild animals from becoming injured or orphaned in the first place. Four ways people can help wildlife, at any time but especially right now, include:

  • Drive carefully, especially at dusk and dawn, to avoid wildlife collisions.
  • Call the Center at 541-745-5324 before picking up baby animals that appear to be orphaned. Many of these babies can be reunited with their mothers.
  • Keep your cats indoors! Cats kill millions of birds every year and orphan or injure many more. Plus, indoor cats live longer, healthier lives.
  • Check for nests before proceeding with yardwork and maintenance.

Taking these steps will protect wildlife while saving Chintimini money and staff time, so they can continue to serve our community for years to come.

Dyami, a Bald Eagle at Chintimini Wildlife Center, stands in his enclosure

Dyami, a Bald Eagle Ambassador Animal at Chintimini – Photo by Claire A. Peterson

 

Morgan, a Sparred Owl at Chintimini Wildlife Center

Morgan, a Sparred Owl Ambassador Animal at Chintimini – Photo by Dillon Powers