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Animals in Education

The permanent residents at the Wisconsin Humane Society's Wildlife Rehabilitation Center help our staff and volunteers in different ways.  Some act as foster parents for orphaned animals of their kind in our Nursery and in our outdoor wildlife exercise enclosures, while others work with WHS educators to help educate about wildlife and how to live harmoniously with wild animals.

Meet some of the Education Ambassador Team:


Picasso, the Eastern Screech Owl

Picasso is an Eastern Screech Owl, admitted to our Wildlife Rehabilitation Center with a severe injury to one eye and a severely fractured wing, likely due to a vehicle collision.  Picasso had surgery to stabilize his fractured wing bones, weeks of treatment to his damaged eye, and physical therapy for his healing wing.  But despite the best of care, Picasso’s injuries have left him with permanent handicaps that prevent him from being released to the wild.  So, this lucky little owl now has a second life here at the Wisconsin Humane Society, helping us educate people about the need to treat wildlife with respect and kindness.

Roxy, the Western Fox Snake

Roxy is a Western Fox Snake that was found wandering around outside and was actually picked up by animal control due to her unusual behavior.  Although she is in perfect condition physically, behaviorally she is not able to survive in the wild.  Roxy has no fear of humans – so we suspect that someone kept her as a pet from a very young age, and then no longer wanting a pet snake, released her.  Roxy is a great example of why not to liberate unwanted pets into the wild.

Herbert, the Peregrine Falcon

Herbert is a Peregrine Falcon that was originally admitted to us as a patient with a severely dislocated elbow and other injuries.  Dislocations are serious injuries in wild animals – once that soft tissue is damaged, they are at significant risk of re-injury and long-term pain.  Herbert’s injuries prevent him from release, but he has had surgery to stabilize his wing making it confortable for long-term captivity.  Peregrines are an endangered species in the state of Wisconsin, and Herbert helps to educate not only about his species, but how urban environments are still very important to many wild animals. 

Sonny and Cher, the Mallard Ducks

Sonny and Cher are two sibling female Mallards who were brought to the Wisconsin Humane Society after they were illegally hand-raised by a misinformed, but well-meaning person.  Their finder fed them an inappropriate diet and as a result, the ducks developed metabolic bone disease which left some of their bones weakened and/or deformed. For this reason, they can’t fly or walk normally and cannot survive in the wild on their own.  Sonny and Cher are a perfect example why it is a bad idea (and illegal) to keep wild animals as pets, and why it is so important to immediately contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator when you find a wild animal that needs help.  

Amelia, Thalia, Ute, and Agnes, the Big Brown Bats

We have a small captive colony of non-releasable Big Brown Bats, all of which were originally patients in our wildlife hospital.  We are one of only a handful of rehabilitation centers in Wisconsin that are licensed to care for these bats that are considered a threatened species in our state. Each year we care for over 150 bats. Our goal is to rehabilitate these amazing creatures and release them back to the wild, but for these individuals, their serious injuries were so severe that they were ultimately determined to be non-releasable.   These bats now help us educate the hundreds of people that attend our education programs each year about bats.  In our programs we talk about the importance and significance of bats, and we also work diligently to dispel the many persistent myths regarding these amazing nocturnal insect-eaters.  Bats are wonderful mothers, are very beneficial to humans in our agricultural state by eating literally tons of insects, they are exceptionally clean, and very sensitive and observant individuals.  People are always amazed by how cute their faces look up close and by how small bats truly are (even though their species name has “big” in it!).  We love bats, and we can’t think of better ambassadors to help us in our mission to build a community that treats animals with kindness and respect.

Make a Donation!

Our permanent residents require specialized care in order to maintain their health.

Our permanent residents require specialized care in order to maintain their health. If you would like to make a contribution to the ongoing care of one of our permanent residents, please click here to make a donation.