Wild Care Celebrates 25 Years, Focusing on Future

EASTHAM – A wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center in Eastham is celebrating 25 years of rescuing, treating and releasing Cape Cod wildlife.

Wild Care Inc. treats injured, ill and orphaned animals, along with providing public education and counseling to help prevent wildlife casualties.

Wild Care has accepted over 24,000 wild creatures since it was founded, including 275 different species of birds, mammals, and reptiles.

Of the animals admitted, about half come to Wild Care due to injuries and habitat loss due to human activities.

The organization says a vital part of its mission is to help educate the public on ways they can avoid harming our animal neighbors.

Wild Care was founded in the Brewster home of Karen Von den Deale, a wildlife rehabilitator.

“She had dozens of volunteers coming in and out of her home helping her care for the animals,” said Stephanie Ellis, the Wild Care executive director. “And she realized 25 years ago that there was a tremendous need for these services.”

Wild Care was initially based in a Brewster location. That location was quickly outgrown and the organization moved to its big yellow farmhouse on Smith Lane in Eastham just off the Orleans Rotary in the early 2000s.

“We’ve outgrown the current space in some ways, but we are very creative,” Ellis said. “It’s also a great location for us because it is easy for people to get to if they have animals in distress.”

The organization cares for up to 2,000 animals per year with four-permanent staff, one full-time and three part-time, who are licensed wildlife rehabilitators with veterinary experience.

“When animals come in we do the full assessment, diagnosis and treatment, and we have the ability to take x-rays, blood samples, etc.,” Ellis said. “If we are in need of a veterinarian we have many local veterinarians who we work with who provide pro bono services.”

Wild Care has cared for more than 1,800 animals so far in 2018.

The organization is also looking towards the future to keep up with the growing demand of services.

Wild Care has seen a drastic increase in the number of animals coming into the facility since 2015.

Short-term goals include increasing staff capacity and completing renovations.

“Right now what we really need is to expand our current kitchen and lobby and so we have a project underway,” Ellis said. “It is going to be about $150,000 to build a new clinic and lobby expansion.”

About $56,000 has been raised for the project.

The new lobby will be an educational center and will offer interpretive materials and panels for visitors.

“This will allow us to accommodate more animals,” Ellis said. “A larger kitchen and cleaning area will give us more space for preparing things for the animals.”

Long-term goals include paying off mortgage expenses, getting more planned donors and hiring a permanent Development Director to assist with fundraising needs.

Donations can be made at wildcarecapecod.org.

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