MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Since the start of the pandemic, an interesting phenomenon has occurred with the rehabilitation of wildlife.
There is a record number of animals that have been brought to hospital.
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“In 2019, we admitted around 13,000 patients. This year, we are on track to admit 19,000, ”said Phil Jenni, Executive Director of the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Roseville.
Jenni said the record increase has more to do with human behavior than animal behavior.
People have been home and away during the pandemic, so they more often encounter injured or orphaned animals.
“The good thing about COVID is that there are more people who see injured animals and take the time to help them,” Jenni said.
Over the past year and a half, people have brought black bear cubs, milk snakes, and small-footed bats. And pretty much everything else. Someone even brought in an injured blue-spotted salamander.
At the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota, it’s a similar story.
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For the third time only in 50 years of history, they have seen more than a thousand birds enter. A great horned owl is patient 1,000.
“Her wing is so swollen that the edema or swelling literally cries,” said Tracy Swanson, veterinarian trainee.
December should be a slow month, but they see three times as many patients as they usually see.
“It’s unusually hot for the season. Birds hang around longer. The people are outside. And they know where to call if they find an injured bird, ”said Managing Director Victoria Hall.
About 50% of eagles, owls, hawks and hawks that enter are successfully released into the wild. Which is the ultimate goal for the doctor and the patient.
“It’s kinda good in this world when we can have these success stories with these birds and the community caring enough to bring us these birds. It’s a little bright spot right now, ”Hall said.
Veterinarians said the most common injuries are man-made, such as animals hit by cars or ingestion of lead from ammunition.
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