Wildlife center unable to accept new admissions, in need of volunteers and supplies

NOW: Wildlife center unable to accept new admissions, in need of volunteers and supplies

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WAUKESHA COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A Waukesha County wildlife center is calling on the community for assistance after it was forced to close its doors to new admissions due to what it calls an overwhelming influx of animals.

The Wildlife In Need Center (WINC) is a 501(c)(3) licensed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The center was founded in 1993 in Waukesha and is now located in the Town of Ottawa. The center's main purpose is to provide care and treatment for injured, diseased or orphaned indigenous wildlife with a goal of returning healthy animals to the wild.

"At the end of the day, we try to save as many animals as we can," explained Lisa Fosco, animal care director at WINC. "We try to do whatever we can to give them a second chance."

In 2021, WINC admitted 1,110 animals representing 92 different species from 66 cities in 10 counties. Data shows the busiest months for animal admissions are May through September, but due to an influx of animals and a lack of volunteers and resources, the center has been forced to close its doors to new admissions.

"You can get up to 50 patients a day, sometimes more," said Kim Banach, executive director at WINC. "We pride ourselves on providing excellent care for the animals and that's what is at our forefront."

Banach says this is the first time in the center's history it has had to close its doors to new admissions. While a difficult decision for the organization, she says it was necessary for her staff and volunteers to be able to provide the best care for animals currently at the facility.

"This is temporary," Banach said. "We want to reopen as soon as possible, but we have to move some animals along."

WINC has made an exception to its temporary "no new admissions" policy for injured turtles. Most species of turtles are rapidly declining.

Banach and Fosco are both hopeful the organization will be able to start accepting new animals again once they can release some of the animals and graduate them from the program. Until then, they're calling on the community for assistance, whether that be monetary donations or time.

"We always need help," Fosco said. "The more help we have, the more animals we can save."

Folks interested in volunteering are encouraged to visit WINC's website here.

There will be a new volunteer orientation at WINC at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 22. Those interested in attending need to call the center ahead of time at (262)-965-3090.

For those looking to donate supplies, a link to WINC's Amazon Wish List can be found here.

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