After all the delays, Wildlife Response, Inc (WRI) is finally realizing its long-held goal of creating a Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, following a 10-1 vote by Virginia Beach City Council to award the much-anticipated competitive Bid Lease to WRI this past Tuesday evening.
Council's vote follows on 8 months of evaluation by a specially-chosen review committee, during which formal proposals were submitted last August, interviews were conducted in December, and a unanimous vote by the review committee endorsed the proposal submitted by WRI.
Provision of this proposed Wildlife Rehabilitation Center will help already over-tasked agencies run more efficiently. By combining the existing volunteer hotline and rehabilitation services with this proposed facility, WRI plans to expand its existing services into a more full-service organization dedicated solely to wildlife care.
The proposed Wildlife Rehabilitation Center will be a central location where local citizens, animal control officials and other agencies can drop off wildlife; as well as provide a redistribution center for animals where they can be triaged, then sent to permitted home-based wildlife rehabilitators. This facility will provide state of the art veterinary care, and a safe recuperation site for wildlife brought there. WRI will also provide security for the Center by having a caretaker onsite, thus maintaining the property’s integrity and minimizing the risk of vandalism and trespassing. Most recuperated wildlife will be released offsite in appropriate habitat. Release criteria depends on variables such as weather, time of year, species of animal, age of animal or number of animals.
The Center will also launch an expanded educational platform for WRI that will be used to cultivate an understanding of our immediate environment and the wildlife that we cohabitate with. This portion of WRI’s mission will be fulfilled with onsite and offsite programs which may include "wild ambassadors" (animals unable to be returned to the wild but can help spread the message of wildlife conservation).
The WRI proposal insures that a majority of the current wooded area would remain in a natural state and is master planned for three phases. The first phase would renovate the existing structure for use as a caretaker/director residence and construct rehabilitation enclosures to house recuperating wildlife. The second phase proposes a medical treatment center, additional rehabilitation enclosures, solar/water collection platforms and a workshop facility for onsite maintenance. The final phase would be for an administration/education facility and trail system.