AMES — A clinic at Iowa State University is working to help injured wildlife animals and give others new purpose through education.
The Wildlife Care Clinic at the school’s Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center takes in injured animals and helps them get well enough for release, The Des Moines Register reported. If a creature’s injuries are too severe, officials try to keep the animal for educational programs.
That was the case with Ernie the opossum, now a permanent resident at the clinic. He arrived in February with a missing eye, broken teeth and a frostbitten tail. He now travels the state with staff and recently wore a red Superman cape for Halloween.
“Give him an orange, and he doesn’t care,” said Grisselle Ambert, an ISU student who works at the clinic. “He wears the cape with pride.”
There are currently six disabled animals that are used for educational purposes. They include creatures like Harvey the great horned owl and Sora the red-tailed hawk. Harvey had his left eye removed, and Sora’s right shoulder is permanently dislocated.
The animals come from across Iowa and parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin. The clinic, which opened in 1990, is considered one of a few in the Midwest with resources for surgery, blood work, X-rays and other treatments. There are two professional staff members and several ISU students who help run the clinic. Some are paid staff and others volunteer.
“There is no other place like it in Iowa that sees and treats all wildlife, including mammals, waterfowl, songbirds, marsupials and raptors,” said Bianca Zaffarano, the clinic’s director.