Wildlife rehab, only fully licensed center in 4-county area, plans to relocate in spring

Molly Daly
January 05, 2019 - 4:00 am

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — This year will be a busy one for the only fully licensed wildlife rehabilitation clinic serving Philadelphia, Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester counties. The non-profit opened its doors April 1st.

Philadelphia Metro Wildlife Center Executive Director Rick Schubert said by year's end, they had treated 2,643 wild birds and animals since opening its doors April 1, 2018.

"The very last one was a garter snake we took in on New Year's Eve," he added.

The new year's first patient was a crow-sized pileated woodpecker that hit a window. Schubert said every injury they treat is caused by humans.

"We're hitting them by our cars, they're being caught by cats, they're flying into our windows, and we're cutting trees down," he said. "These are the things we fix; these are the things that happen where people are."

Schubert's team, which includes two other licensed rehabilitators and scores of volunteers, has been working in a cramped five-room apartment just off Route 202 on the eastern fringe of King of Prussia. By spring, they hope to be in roomier digs.

Right now, they have to improvise.

"We have animals who need a flight cage, we either transfer them to other wildlife centers, or we use our volunteers that have a flight cage in their backyard," noted Schubert. "We also have a lot of outdoor space, both to set up cages and to have a buffer zone around us — of a little bit of woods, a little bit of stream, and forest and fields — so that we're not right up against our neighbors."

Philadelphia Metro treats all wild animals, even the non-natives like pigeons, house sparrows, and starlings. Schubert has a soft spot for North America's only marsupial.

"An opossum is the single-most innocuous creature in existence. There's no animal that I'm less afraid of than an opossum. I'm more afraid of mice than I am of opossums," he said,

To donate, volunteer, or to find out more, visit phillywildlife.org.