Spring is a season of birth and renewal, and nowhere is that more apparent than at For Heaven’s Sake Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation center in Rochester, an animal sanctuary caring for dozens of baby squirrels, baby opossums and bunnies.
Where most people would be overwhelmed by the prospect of bottle-feeding scores of pocket-sized mammals, David Supensky, co-operator of For Heaven’s Sake, says it just comes with the territory.
“It’s normal for this time of year,” Supensky said. “We start getting a lot of baby animals. Mostly squirrels, rabbits and opossums. So that keeps us busy feeding them.”
But Supensky admitted bottle-feeding can get complicated because each species of orphaned wildlife requires a special blend of powdered milk replacer. Supensky says the bottle operation requires a lot of volunteer effort.
“There’s special ways to feed them depending on how young they are,” he said. “You have to feed them carefully so that they don’t asphyxiate. It just takes a lot of time to do all that.”
Supensky says the animals show up at the rescue center in “almost every way imaginable.” Sometimes people cut down trees and accidentally topple a nest. Other times, an overzealous dog or cat will bring home a critter. Some well-meaning people rescue bunnies that may seem abandoned, but aren’t.
“The parents only feed once or twice a day, so they can be gone a long time during the day before coming back,” Supensky said.
“The best thing to do is to leave it alone and check back later.
“If they don’t know what to do, they can call us, or the Fish and Wildlife.”
How to help
For Heaven’s Sake depends on donations and volunteer efforts to operate. To donate, volunteer or learn more, call 360-273-0550 or go to www.fhswildliferehab.org.