Aark Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center reflects on 2020

    Dear Friends of Aark,

    What a year! 2020 has proven to be one of the most challenging years of all time. It began with the passing of our founder, Mary Jane Stretch, and quickly slipped into the never-ending, ever changing world of COVID-19. As an essential business, Aark remained open during the state’s mandatory shutdown. Staff was reduced to a minimum to accommodate social distancing. A myriad of personal protection equipment was purchased, masks were required to be worn at all times and a contactless drop-off system was enacted. With more people home and spending time outdoors, we noticed a significant increase in patient intakes.

    To date, we have treated over 7,000 patients, a twenty percent increase from last year. With in-person fundraising stalled, events cancelled and additional safety expenses, simply staying open became a huge challenge. Thanks to an amazing group of volunteers and a devoted community of supporters, 24 hour animal care was able to continue. What would Aark do without you? We are very grateful for your continued patronage.

    In addition to new challenges, we faced old ones as well – namely the Spotted Lantern Fly and the sticky glue tape used to trap them. Hundreds of animals were brought to us ensnared in that thick goop, unable to get free and struggling to survive. Many of the victims were woodpeckers, nuthatches, flying squirrels and bats, just to name a few.

    One day in late July, a caring person phoned the Aark about a red-tailed hawk caught in the tape. For two days they had seen him sitting on a fence covered in tape from head to toe and were rightfully concerned. After carefully following instructions given by a trained Aark volunteer, the good Samaritan was able to bring the hawk to us for care. What a mess! Wrapped up like a UPS package from repeated attempts to free itself, the hawk was nearly dead with exhaustion.

    After 90 tedious minutes using everything in the “glue removal tool-kit,” the giant raptor was finally free. Although in shock and missing a few feathers, he was relatively unharmed. After a round of fluids and some additional washing to remove glue residue, he was feisty as ever. A few more days of rest and some good nutrition and he was ready to be released. He soared into the wild without looking back. It was only because of quick action by the rescuer that this bird was able to survive. What would he have done without our devoted supporters like you?

    2020 has been a challenge for everyone. We will get through this together, united in our mission to save the lives of thousands of wild animals. We need our devoted supporters now, more than ever. Just a small donation will do so much for so many. Please consider giving today to help more birds like that feisty red-tailed hawk, and so many others.

    We remain open and thankful to you, our devoted community. 


    Leah A. Stallings,

    Executive Director

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