A non-profit central Iowa group that cares for sick and injured wildlife, from owls to rabbits to raccoons, is holding its annual fundraiser next weekend.
Iowa Wildlife Center executive director Marlene Ehresman says those who attend the “Wildlife Calls! 2017” event on November 10th will be in for an educational evening, celebrating wild lives, wild land and the human spirit.
“It’s a benefit event, a fundraising event for the Iowa Wildlife Center,” Ehresman says. “There’s a live auction and a silent auction. We’ll have wonderful hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar and it should be a lot of fun. We’ll have some games and people will be able to meet some of our live education animals as well.”
If a dog or cat is found along the roadside, the Animal Rescue League of Iowa can typically respond. The Iowa Wildlife Center is the counterpart for wild animals of all kinds. With 75 acres of permanently-protected land near Ames and Ledges State Park, Ehresman says the center provides a range of services.
“We practice professional wildlife rehabilitation,” Ehresman says. “We offer conservation education programming. We provide wildlife assistance skills training to those who wish to help out either rescuing or becoming a wildlife rehabilitator.” Rehabilitating wildlife means the care and treatment of indigenous wildlife that have been orphaned, injured or are sick and then returning them to the wild.
“We don’t treat these animals as pets, whether they’re babies or not,” Ehresman says. “We don’t coddle them. We don’t let them mingle with our domestic animals. We provide the right caging, the right diet. It’s all regulated either by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources or the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.”
The center treats a wide assortment of creatures, from turtles to snakes and from bats to trumpeter swans. “The most common calls we get are about cottontail rabbits, fox squirrels, whitetail deer and raccoons,” Ehresman says. “You think about the most common animals in Iowa, mammals, and those would be the top four.” The fundraiser will be held at the Nature Lodge in the Raccoon River Park in West Des Moines.