What’s Wild- What’s Not
May 02, 2016 12:33PM
● By Elena Hutslar
Living with wildlife sometimes means letting wildlife be exactly that, wild. And that is the push behind Lindsay Wildlife Experience’s newest exhibit, What’s Wild—What’s Not.
Last summer, a baby opossum and her sibling were brought to Lindsay Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital. Mildly dehydrated but old enough to live on their own, the rescuer was given the opossums back so she could release them where they were found. A few months later, Lindsay hospital officials discovered the rescuer had not released the opossums and was keeping them as pets, which is illegal. After much convincing, the female opossum was brought to Lindsay in September to live and become a Lindsay animal ambassador. Because humans had raised her, she showed no fear of people and is dependent on them for food.
While her story is unfortunate because this opossum could no longer survive in the wild, stories like hers is what inspired What’s Wild—What’s Not, which opened in April. Each year, Lindsay Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital treats hundreds of wild animals that people kept as pets.
The new exhibit has a dual message: wild animals do not make good pets, and pets do not belong in the wild. It has a backyard theme and illustrates the detrimental effect domesticated animals can have on wildlife. The hospital treats well over 1,000 cat-caught wild animals each year, including birds, squirrels, and lizard, but the exhibit delivers these messages in a bright and engaging way. It’s the newest exhibit at the premier wildlife education center in more than three years. You will meet wild animals, such as an alligator lizard, as well as pets that call the exhibit home. Gaze at rats running overhead in clear tubes or a domestic rabbit in his hutch. Some of these animals also come out for daily Petting Time, so visitors actually get to feel these furry or scaly friends.
Also in the exhibit is one of Lindsay’s newest animal ambassadors, Petunia the opossum who had been a pet and now has a purpose at Lindsay.
What’s Wild—What’s Not was made possible by The Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation, the Estate of Stephen S. Ball, and the William A. Kerr Foundation.