Mission: Rockfish Wildlife Sanctuary (RWS) rehabilitates injured and orphaned native wildlife in Central Virginia, and educates the community about the needs and value of the natural environment.
Community Need: Central Virginia continues to experience significant development and this puts great pressure on the wildlife population. Increased development reduces the acreage available for wildlife, and affects wooded areas, open fields, creeks and riverbanks, and wetlands. In addition, it leads to more interactions between wildlife and humans, with deleterious effects for the wildlife. Wildlife are hit by cars, birds fly into windows, pets injure wildlife, and great blue herons and raptors develop lead poisoning from eating fish that have swallowed lead sinkers. All of these situations result in more injured and orphaned wildlife, and RWS expects them to increase.
Primary Activities: RWS provides care to orphaned and injured Virginia wildlife at a 19 acre wooded property, with a building that houses their special care nurseries and fledgling aviary, and 28 outdoor enclosures that allow animals to be in as natural a setting as possible. Care is provided by their state- and federally- licensed staff and by dedicated animal care volunteers, including transporters. Their education program includes talks and workshops at schools and community groups, their website and newsletters, written materials and the thousands of phone calls they receive each year from people who have questions and concerns about wildlife.
Constituents Served: RWS serves two populations. The native Virginia wildlife come mainly from Central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley – they work closely with the Wildlife Center of Virginia, bringing them animals that need veterinary care, and they send animals that require lengthy rehabilitation and/or intensive non-veterinarian care. Last year RWS took care of 645 animals and released healthy animals back into their natural environment.
The human population is largely in Central Virginia: RWS answers their questions by phone, educates them through live talks with education animals and with their education team, and through their website, Facebook page, and written materials. Most people who call are quite anxious, want to help an injured animal and feel quite powerless. By talking with a knowledgeable person, they learn how to safely approach an injured bird or mammal, and if necessary, how to transport it to RWS (or RWS staff/volunteers will come to the site to rescue the animal). People express great relief and appreciation for the help they receive in learning how to help animals and reduce their suffering.
Program Details: RWS wants to build four outdoor skunk enclosures and will use volunteers to save on costs. The enclosures will be 10’W X 10’D X 7’H, with mesh sides and floor (with mulch over the mesh floor). The roof will be half mesh and half solid, to allow the skunks experience with weather. And there will be a double door entrance to prevent accidental “releases”. RWS takes care of approximately 30 skunks each year, and having designated skunk enclosures will free up other enclosures for different mammals. The enclosures are designed to be durable and to require little maintenance.
Amount Requested: $10,000
Operating Budget: $186,100