HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow/Gray News) – The Hawaii Wildlife Center cares for critical species ― native birds and bats that come to the Big Island animal hospital either sick or injured.
The center’s founder and president, Linda Elliot, said there are currently 40 animals at the hospital located in North Kohala.
“You never know from day to day what you’re going to get in as a patient,” she said.
The nonprofit treats its patients for problems ranging from bodily injuries to poisonings. It could be a nene goose or a Hawaiian hoary bat that needs help.
The center’s team of veterinarians nurse them back to health.
“We know that when they’re in care it’s not normal for them,” Elliott said. “They’re not like our domestic animals that like to be held or petted or talked to.”
The need to rehabilitate injured animals has grown by leaps and bounds. The center also takes in patients from Midway and Kure atolls, two ring-shaped reefs located in the Pacific Ocean.
Elliott said since the center opened, Hawaii Wildlife Center has cared for close to 3,000 birds and bats.
“We treat them and get them back into the wild,” she said.
This year marks the wildlife center’s 10-year anniversary. Its release rate is more than 80%.
“Our happiest moment is when we release them back into the wild and they fly away without looking back. Then we know we’ve done what we needed to do to get them back out,” Elliott said.
The center depends on grants and contributions from businesses and individuals to continue the important work.
Its small staff receives help from volunteers and veterinarians statewide who assist with medical treatment and transportation.
“We always look for training new people within our own community, within the state, so that we have the expertise here to protect our native biodiversity,” Elliott said.
The Hawaii Wildlife Center cares for a lot more native birds and bats than Elliott envisioned it would when the hospital opened a decade ago, and that need is never-ending.
For more information or to donate, visit the Hawaii Wildlife Center website.
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