Lake Metroparks successfully releases rehabilitated
American bald eagle to the wild.
An American bald eagle was brought to the Lake Metroparks Wildlife Center by ODNR Division of Wildlife officer Scott Denamon April 1, 2013. The eagle was found in the Chagrin River at Pleasant Valley Park Willoughby Hills. The eagle’s injuries included soft tissue damage in the right wing. It also displayed a wing droop in the same wing.
Lake Metroparks Wildlife Center trained staff provided professional supportive care, physical therapy and exercise in flight cage. The eagle recently performed well during a recent creance (flight in field using tether) and the staff felt confident that his release would be successful. The eagle was successfully released on May 20, 2013 back to the wild at Pleasant Valley Park.
Lake Metroparks Wildlife Center is currently caring for two other American bald eagles, which underscores the success story of the improving numbers of this once federally endangered species. One has a broken wing and still recovering from surgery.
The other bird is our permanent resident, Apollo, a juvenile eagle, not yet white in the head and tail, with a permanent wing injury. He was hatched from a Lake County nest on private properly and is not able to be released due to his wing injury. Apollo is on display in the wildlife center yard at Penitentiary Glen Reservation daily.
Each year, nearly 2,000 injured or orphaned animals receive first aid and rehabilitation at the Wildlife Center. Patients include backyard wildlife, such as rabbits and songbirds, and endangered species such as the peregrine falcon and bald eagle. Many eventually resume their life in the wild. Special attention is given to animals whose populations are in decline.
The Wildlife Center is home to
our animal ambassadors ranging from reptiles, mammals, to a variety of birds of prey. These animals assist the staff in educating the public, groups, and students about wildlife issues and conservation.
Get an up-close look at our amazing ambassadors in our Wildlife Center Yard.
Open 9 am to 5 pm daily.
Click here for our Wish List to view items that the center needs and accepts in order to improve the care of animal patients. Items may be new or gently used.
What can I do to prevent wildlife orphans and injuries?
This cute orphaned bobcat was brought to the wildlife center by ODNR Division of Wildlife. She is receiving
from wildlife specialists at
the Wildlife Center. Click here for more information.
Wild animals will rarely abandon their babies. The only times they will do this is if the baby is born deformed or becomes ill/injured.
The only time a human should ever interfere with a baby wild animal is if the animal is ill or injured.
Baby animals should never be moved unless they are in immediate danger such as the middle of the road. Baby animals must learn about the dangers
of their surroundings, including natural predators. Most of these behaviors are instinctual and others are acquired by watching their parents
Wild animals work extremely hard at raising healthy, successful young. It is not necessary for a human to interfere with this process unless the baby becomes ill or injured.
Baby wild animals that are raised in captivity have a decreased chance of survival compared to those that have been raised by their parents in the wild. However, only in cases where the young animal absolutely needs human assistance, the best possible care is given to these animals by staff with specialized training. Our ultimate goal is to release them back into the wild.
If you think a baby animal needs our help please call us first before attempting to capture the animal, as we can ask a series of questions to determine if the animal truly needs human assistance. Our goal is to do what is in the best interest of the animal.
Check for nests before cutting down a tree or clearing brush. It is best to
cut trees and clear brush in the autumn when nesting season is over.
Place caps on all chimneys, vents and window wells to prevent animals from nesting there.
Keep your pets under control so that they do not injure wild animals.
Educate children to respect wild animals and their habitat, and not to try and catch or harass them.
Use caution when driving and watch the roadsides for wild animals, especially at dawn and dusk.
Lake Metroparks Animal Ambassadors represent a variety of native species of Ohio Wildlife. These residents are under the permanent care of the Wildlife Center staff because their injuries prohibited independent survival.
Sponsorships make a great gift for children, family and teachers
and are a unique opportunity for classrooms and scouts.
Injured, orphaned or sick wild animals need humane and intense care for recovery and release. Medical treatment, food and shelter can be costly. Your donation can help defray these costs and help us help these animals.
Click here to learn about our Adopt an Animal program.
Frequently Asked Wildlife Emergency Questions
How can I contact you? The Wildlife Helpline is 440-256-2131
What types of animals are cared for by the Wildlife Center? Approximately 2,000 injured or orphaned Ohio wildlife are cared for annually. Our goal is to return healthy wildlife back to the wild.
I found an injured bird or mammal - what should I do? Call the Wildlife Center Helpline at 440-256-2131 before bringing the animal in. We will help you decide what is best for that animal. We are open 9:00 to 5:00 daily (including Saturday and Sunday).
A bird just hit my window - should I bring it in? We recommend waiting at least one hour for the bird to recover on its own before trying to intervene. Always try and call the Wildlife Center Helpline
before bringing an injured animal into the Wildlife Center.
What should I do if I have a wildlife emergency after 5 pm? We have drop-off cages in front of the Wildlife Center for injured animals for after-hour emergencies. Make sure the animal is in a secure box (with a lid) or cage. Please fill out the information form attached to the drop off cage and you can check on the animal the next morning.
There is an orphaned fawn in my yard, should I bring it in? Call the Wildlife Center Helpline for advice. Very rarely is the fawn an orphan. The female deer will protect her young from predators by leaving them alone in a secluded spot and caring for them periodically. The fawn should be left alone and protected from children and pets.
Is the animal or bird I found really an orphan?
Probably not. Wildlife parents are very devoted to the care of their young and rarely abandon them. It is common for the young to be alone while the parents are off in search of the next meal.
Do you take all birds and animals?
Under state permits Lake Metroparks is not allowed to rehabilitate
skunks, raccoons, deer, coyote, and mute swans. The Wildlife Center does not take domestic and exotic animals which require specialized care. Call the Wildlife Center Helpline immediately for advice and referral numbers.
What happens to the animal after I bring it in? Our goal at the Wildlife Center is to return healthy wildlife back to the wild. The animal receives a physical exam, medical treatment and professional care during the length of its stay. You will be given a case number to check on the animal’s condition at any time and you will also receive a postcard when it is released.
Orphaned bobcat brought in by ODNR Division of Wildlife
On May 13, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife (DOW) contacted the Lake Metroparks Wildlife Center to arrange care for this orphaned bobcat. It was found by the side of a road in Athens, Ohio (southeast of Columbus) not far from a dead female bobcat. DOW transported the baby bobcat to the Wildlife Center on May 14.
"That ODNR Division of Wildlife would choose to entrust care of this orphaned bobcat to Lake Metroparks demonstrates confidence in our Wildlife Center," notes Paul Palagyi, Lake Metroparks Executive Director. "This affirms the Center's excellent reputation and the high level of care provided by our professional, educated and experienced staff."
A local veterinarian performed a full physical exam on the animal and determined it was fairly healthy except for being slightly malnourished and needing treatment for parasites. Wildlife Center staff anticipate to remedy both conditions. The bobcat is fed formula every two hours for 16 hours a day and making steady improvement. Young bobcats can survive alone in the wild around six to nine months of age. The goal is to release the bobcat back into a suitable habitat as determined by the DOW sometime this fall.
The bobcat is a native, threatened species in Ohio, and is very rarely seen. For more bobcat facts from ODNR, click here.
Recently we received a threatened species Spotted Turtle at our Wildlife Center. He was brought to us in early December 2009 by people who had him in captivity for a few months while being housed with their other turtles.
They had received him from a friend who had taken him out of the wild because he was missing his left, rear leg. This person thought they were doing him a service by taking him out of his natural habitat and keeping him in captivity because of this apparent handicap. In fact, most turtles that are missing a leg do not appear hampered in any way by the lack of an appendage. Generally, missing limbs occur due to predator species such as snapping turtles, bald eagles, raccoons, skunks and muskrats attacking them in or out of the water, but the natural ability of a reptile to heal on its own is what allowed this particular turtle to survive and continue to thrive. It is however, illegal to take a Spotted Turtle from the wild due to their current status, regardless of good intentions. Read more...
The Wildlife Center operates under state permits from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and federal permits from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Our staff has professional training in wildlife first aid, care, and education.
The staff works closely with generous and talented local veterinarians.
The Wildlife Center is an active and professional member of the following organizations:
The mission of the Wildlife Center is to reduce impact on native Ohio wildlife through human education and wildlife rehabilitation. Each year nearly 2,000 injured and orphaned animals receive first aid; care and rehabilitation-many eventually resume their life in the wild. Some animals can not be released may become our animal ambassadors and assist us in teaching about wildlife issues and conservation.
Volunteers will learn the basic procedures and protocols involved with wildlife education and rehabilitation. They will develop and practice skills of animal husbandry/triage, environmental programming, and handling/enrichment for program animals directly from professionals in this field.
There are many opportunities for adults, juniors, and internships. Volunteers will be required to fill out an application, and attend orientation before joining fellow volunteers at the Center.