The Wildlife Center of Virginia has trained thousands of people over the years at its high-tech veterinary clinic in Waynesboro, and now the center is branching out – offering to train animal lovers around the world.
Every year, the Wildlife Center of Virginia takes in thousands of injured and orphaned animals – from eagles and hawks to baby black bears .
Many people want to help wild animals, but the center’s president, Ed Clark, says they lack the credentials and the expertise to do so:
“Wildlife rehabilitators who are typically volunteer, lay people at the community level need permits from their respective state and federal agencies, but they also need training.”
To make training accessible and affordable, Clark says, the center will offer courses for laymen in real time online:
“It will be interactive, but it will be accessible via the Internet so that people anywhere in the county, and indeed, anywhere in the world will be able to access this training,” Clark explains.
Lesson number one will answer a fundamental question. Are you cut out for the job?
"Caring for wildlife is not a hobby, it’s a lifestyle," Clark says. "When you have baby animals at home you can't go away for the weekend, and these are the kinds of realities that Walt Disney didn't share with us, and frankly a lot of folks get into wildlife care with very distorted and very inaccurate perceptions of what it's going to be. It’s not cuddling wildlife."
In fact, he says, if wild animals get too comfortable around the people, their future in the wild is at risk. The Wildlife Academy begins this fall with eleven different courses.