Melissa Anahory, Program and Operations Assistant at Woodlands Wildlife Refuge, shares the company’s history:
Woodlands was established in 1986 with the care of two orphaned raccoons, and now cares for over 900 animals each year from the smallest shrew to the largest bear, the fuzziest mammal to the scaliest reptile, and the cutest orphan to the most critically injured adult. During its 27 years in operation, more than 9,000 animals cared for by Woodlands includes 84 black bears and 22 bobcats, as well as turtles, snakes, otters, beavers, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, skunks, opossums, fox, and mink to name a few! Woodlands’ Black Bear Rehabilitation Program is recognized internationally for its success. Woodlands is happy to offer these animals a second chance with the ultimate goal of releasing them back into the wild. Every effort is made to educate the public about the habits and habitats of local wildlife to help prevent unwanted encounters. Ninety nine percent of the animals come to Woodlands as a result of human activities – cars, construction, pets, children, pesticides, and herbicides. One percent arrives as a result of unfortunate animal accidents that occur naturally such as lightning strikes, storms or floods.
What’s it like to work with Woodlands Wildlife Refuge?
Melissa: Woodlands is a 501c3 charity that receives no state or federal funding and relies solely on the generosity of others, raising funds from a variety of FUN-draisers throughout the year! A team of 3 staff members and 50 volunteers and interns give care to the animals 365 days a year/ 7 days a week. Some wild patients require specialized diets, costly surgical procedures, medications, and long term care which puts a strain on our carefully managed resources.
Woodlands Wildlife Refuge small staff of 3 consists of Tracy Leaver, Executive Director, Melissa Anahory, Program and Operations Assistant, and Heather Freeman, Wildlife Care and Volunteer Supervisor. Melissa is a former Woodlands intern and Heather is a former volunteer. Together our team has created the Intern Stars Program, a fun competition between interns who can complete various tasks such as social media recruitment, raising funds, and completing chores to earn “gold stars”. At the end of the internship the intern with the most stars wins a prize (and bragging rights!) We train each intern in various wildlife rehabilitation skills such as tube feeding infants, handling Rabies Vector Species (RVS), learning to maintain daily feeding schedules, and working with a wide array of native NJ mammals and reptiles, just to name a few! No two days are ever the same which keeps the internship fun and exciting! You never know what might show up!
Are there any fun facts about Woodlands Wildlife Refuge?
Melissa: Woodlands Wildlife Refuge is the only wildlife rehabilitation facility in the state of New Jersey licensed to care for otter, black bear, and the state endangered bobcat!