New England Wildlife Center hopes to strengthen animal care and education

New England Wildlife Center executive director Katrina Bergman said the nonprofit hospital will receive $100,000 from the state Department of Fish and Game to bolster veterinary care for injured or sick animals.

“Thanks to Rep. James Murphy and Senator Patrick O’Connor, this is a huge recognition of the importance of caring for wildlife,” she said.

Murphy said the Wildlife Center succeeds because of the hard work of staff.

“…the staff here and the interns make this place what it is,” he said.

O’Connor said it was important to help the Wildlife Center because of its activities.

“I hope this is just the beginning of the state and federal dollars that will pour in and continue to make this place as great as it can be,” he said at a check presentation ceremony on February 28.

The Wildlife Center recently received $100,000 in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to fund education and community service programs.

“This $100,000, …, was advocated by Senator O’Connor and Rep. Murphy,” Bergman said.

She said state and federal assistance would help the hospital offset a loss of $300,000 in service charges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Continued:New England Wildlife Center adapts to coronavirus

weird vet

South Shore residents with a sick or injured python, lizard, salamander or boa constrictor can bring it to the Odd Pet Vet section of the hospital.

Veterinarian Dr Michelle Kneeland performed a medical examination of a female leopard tortoise on February 28 and discovered a respiratory infection

“She has a small respiratory infection which is common, …, especially when it’s cold,” Kneeland said. “They’re a bit cold and their immune system is weakened. The good news is that we’re going to give her some good antibiotics and she’ll feel better, and she’ll be on her way.”

On February 28, Wildlife Center veterinarian Dr. Michelle Kneeland (left) and veterinary technician Justin Cain perform a physical examination of a pet owner's female leopard tortoise.

Wildlife hospital care

Dr. Greg Mertz said animals brought into the Wildlife Center are examined in an admissions room.

“This room functions as an intensive care unit,” he added. “We have oxygen tanks here that we can put wild animals into, especially after trauma, respiratory infections, or the stress of being handled by humans. What we’re trying to do is bring them back to normal, take them out and release them into the wild.”

At the New England Wildlife Center in Weymouth, CEO and Medical Director Dr. Greg Mertz tends to an injured squirrel brought in for treatment, Saturday, February 14, 2015.

Mertz said about 240 species of wildlife were brought to the facility for care last year.

Continued:NEW ENGLAND WILDLIFE CENTER: Injured Canada goose returned to Plymouth

The center frames the painted turtles

Mertz said staff are overseeing 25 painted turtles removed from Quincy’s Butler Pond in August 2021 to make way for a $1.4 restoration project.

“We take care of them during the winter while dredging the pond,” he said. “If we didn’t, all those turtles would die. In early spring, we will bring these 25 turtles back to Butler Pond and release them. »

The New England Wildlife Center is caring for a group of painted turtles that were removed from Butler Pond in Quincy to avoid injury during a dredging project.

Continued:Quincy’s turtles will be temporarily relocated before Butler’s Pond dredging begins

Wildlife Center Education

The school offers science, technology, engineering, and math classes for students at all levels to help them understand how these subjects are used in veterinary medicine.

These subjects are taught in nearly two dozen locations across the state, including the Kingston Public Library and Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical High School.

New England Wildlife Center Dr. Greg Mertz holds a boa constrictor which serves as an educational tool for schoolchildren.

Continued:The Kids in New England Wildlife Center program will make a nature video

Wildlife Center deputy director Zak Mertz said the program has a red-tailed hawk named Falco that educators use to instruct students.

“He goes to classrooms all over the state, and he zooms (the internet) all over the world to teach them about natural history, wildlife biology, and the anatomy of bird physiology,” said Mertz, executive director of the Cape Wildlife Center which is a branch of the New England Wildlife Center.

New England Wildlife Center Deputy Director Zak Mertz explains how a disabled red-tailed hawk is cared for at the facility and is a teaching tool to educate schoolchildren

Mertz said Falco became an educational tool after he was injured by a car that hit him on Route 93 “just over a decade ago.”

“…he’ll never fly again,” Mertz said. “When he tries to fly, he hits left every time, and he was out of healing range.”

Mertz said Wildlife Center staff determined that Falco could be used for educational purposes because he “has a big personality.”

“He lives a pretty comfortable life,” he said. “He has a nice indoor house and a nice big outdoor cage. He gets a few square meals delivered to him every day.

The New England Wildlife Center was started by a group of Massachusetts citizens 33 years ago. Additional information about the facility and its programs is available on the hospital’s website. the Web

Benjamin M. Yerger