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Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers Busy After Holiday Weekend

Wild Instincts Facebook

When celebratory fireworks exploded over the weekend, many people watched the sky light up in awe.

But not many animals had the same reaction.

“Big loud noises tend to scare animals, as most people with dogs would know,” says Kaitlin Wikoff, a rehabilitation assistant with Wild Instincts.

She says the explosions are one reason why wildlife rehabilitation centers fill up following the Fourth of July holiday.

“We have Eastern cottontails. We have white-tailed deer. We have black bears, gray foxes, red foxes, coyotes, red squirrels, gray squirrels, bluejays, eagles, owls,” Wikoff lists.

Fireworks can scare baby birds out of their nests before they’re ready to fly, and they can cause other baby animals to run away from their parents.

However, fireworks alone don’t cause the crowded rehabilitation centers.

Wikoff says busy roads, trails and lakes also mean more people encounter animals.

“Fourth of July tends to be a busy time for us just due to the amount of people that come out for celebrations,” she says. “There are more people outside, and they find things.”

She says it’s not always clear when an animal needs help, so the staff at places like Wild Instincts can walk people through what’s normal and what’s not.

Her number one tip for protecting wildlife is simple: be aware of your surroundings.

“Know that it’s great to be outside,” she says. “But also know that you’re usually sharing that space with all sorts of different animals even if you don’t see them.”

Erin Gottsacker worked at WXPR as a Morning Edition host and reporter from December 2020 to January 2023. During her time at the station, Erin reported on the issues that matter most in the Northwoods.
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