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Wildlife in Crisis helps 5,000 animals return to the wild each year

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Courtesy of Wildlife in Crisis

(Read caption) A baby bat is fed milk at Wildlife in Crisis, a nonprofit wildlife rehabilitation center in Weston, Conn. 'We are the front line of defense for animals,' says founder Dara Reid.

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Inside one of several aviaries a parliament of owls perches on a branch, watching and waiting until they are fit for release.

The Barred owls are recuperating here at Wildlife in Crisis (WIC), a nonprofit organization that helps heal more than 5,000 wounded, ill, and orphaned wild animals a year. While it specializes in songbirds and birds of prey, WIC also nurtures animals such as fox and skunks, fisher cats and bobcats. Eventually, nearly every animal under WIC’s care will be released.

“They are very wild when we release them. If they aren’t we are not doing our job,” says Dara Reid, WIC’s founder and director. To ensure success each animal has no more than two human caretakers at a time.

Ms. Reid, who has  a background in veterinary science and wildlife biology, started WIC in 1988. She had seen how suburban sprawl affected native animal populations.

The increased pace of development helps explain why so many birds of prey are recovering at this center deep within the woods of Weston, located about 45 miles northeast of New York City. In Connecticut roads often follow the tree line. So when a hawk swoops down for a kill it risks injury by car or truck.

“All the animals are brought to us by people who care,” Reid says. “We are the front line of defense for animals.”

The story of WIC also tells the story of Connecticut’s wildlife resurgence, says Dara’s husband, Peter Reid. The now-banned pesticide DDT had killed thousands of predatory birds.

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