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Community Spotlight: Ohio Wildlife Center

by Felicia Brower

30_year_finalOhio Wildlife Center (OWC) is a non-profit wildlife rehabilitation organization that has helped thousands of injured animals get well. Every year, OWC provides veterinary care to almost 5,000 injured, orphaned and sick wild animals. There are three main divisions of OWC: a wildlife hospital in Columbus, a nature education center in Powell and a wildlife removal business that operates in Central Ohio.

At the wildlife hospital in Columbus, sick and injured animals are admitted and nursed back to health.  After admitting an animal, volunteers and veterinarians work to rehabilitate that animal so it can be released when it is able to survive on its own. Volunteers primarily drive the organization, so any animals in need must be brought directly to the shelter for treatment. In 2013 alone, OWC wildlife hospital admitted 4,791 injured, orphaned and ill animals for treatment. They were then able to release 40 percent of those animals back into the wild.

Another division of OWC is their nature education center, featuring educational programs about Ohio wildlife. Situated on a 20-acre wooded lot in Powell, the center is open to the public on the second Sunday of each month from February to November. During this time, visitors can see the animals and participate in crafts and activities that educate about wildlife.

Ohio Wildlife Center CS 2The education center in Powell is home to over 50 wild animal ambassadors. “These are animals that were brought to the hospital and rehabilitated, but they aren’t able to be released back into the wild,” explains Angela Latham, Community Engagement Coordinator at OWC. “One of our barn owls has eye problems from what we think was a car strike. She was only able to recover 30 percent of her vision, but she needs at least 50 percent to be released.” Animals with similar stories are used for outreach education purposes at schools and other community programs.

OWC offers day camps, summer camps and events for children ages 4 through 16. Children get the opportunity to see a working wildlife center in action and receive hands-on lessons about Ohio’s native wildlife. Adult groups interested in learning about wildlife are also welcome to make an appointment to tour the facility and to meet the animal ambassadors.

The income-generating division of OWC is a wildlife removal program. Central Ohio residents dealing with wildlife living in, around or under their homes or businesses can contact SCRAM! Wildlife Control (formerly known as Humane Wildlife Solutions) for a natural, humane and permanent solution to wildlife and human conflicts. “We’re dedicated to non-lethal solutions when providing solutions from human and wildlife conflicts,” says Latham. “SCRAM! Wildlife Control will find the point of entry for any animal and install one-way doors so that the animal can get out but can’t get back in. They’ll also check for other points of entry and educate the homeowner on ways to keep animals out in the future.”

This year marks the 30th anniversary of OWC. On May 13, they will host “WildNite for Wildlife 2014”, an annual spring celebration and fundraising gala to celebrate 30 years of wildlife assistance services in Central Ohio. To purchase tickets, or for more information about the event, contact Karen Benningfield at 614-734-9453 or kbenningfield@ohiowildlifecenter.org.

Locations: OWC Wildlife Hospital, 2661 Billingsley Rd., Columbus. Nature Education Center/SCRAM!, 6131 Cook Rd., Powell. For more information, visit OhioWildlifeCenter.org or ScramWildlife.org.

Felicia Brower is a freelance writer based in Columbus. Connect at FeliciaBrower.com or email fmbrower@gmail.com.

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