This time of year used to be a slower time for the Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Longmont.
They would normally be nursing a few animals and birds back to health, but mainly just getting ready for the spring rush.
Not this year.
“It is a pretty squirrel-y time,” Lea Peshock, the animal care supervisor at the rehab center said.
The facility can house about 150 baby squirrels at a time—and this fall, they almost maxed out. Peshock said squirrels have two breeding seasons a year—one in spring and one in fall.
This fall, the public just kept bringing baby squirrels in for help. Right now, they are housing 104 squirrels.
“Every year is getting busier and busier for us,” Peshock said.
It takes 100 volunteers every week to feed the baby squirrels special squirrel formula. It also takes some training—and a license from Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Greenwood works closely with the agency to make sure both the animals and the people who work with them stay safe.
“It’s kind of like with humans—if you have a broken leg, a lot of people wouldn’t try and set the broken leg themselves,” Jenny Bryant, the marketing manager at Greenwood said. “I’m not sure why people think it’s ok to try and figure out how to handle wildlife themselves.”
The facility has always been busy certain times a year, but lately there have been more animals brought in to them. In just the past four years, three other wildlife rehab centers have closed on the Front Range. Greenwood, a nonprofit, is now the only one of its kind and size operating between Colorado Springs and the Wyoming border.
“It takes a lot of time and a lot of education to become a licensed rehabber,” Peshock said. “So it’s not something you can just apply to and start tomorrow.”
The squirrels at Greenwood are well on their way to being released. For some it will be just a few more weeks.
The center’s goal to so get them returned to the wild as quickly and safely as possible.
“We have to remember they are wild animals and they need to stay wild,” Bryant said.
For more information on Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, go to their website: http://bit.ly/19kPBYO