URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — For the first time since it opened, the U of I Wildlife Medical Clinic has to stop taking in animals because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s because the “Stay at Home” order forced all their student workers and volunteer staff to stay out of the building. For 41 years, the clinic has cared for tens of thousands of animals. They take in about 2,000 native Illinois wildlife each year for treatment and rehabilitation.
The COVID-19 “Stay at Home” order forced the clinic to limit their staff from about 150 people to just a few. Sander says, “We have not been allowed to have our volunteers on site for safety reasons. But because of that, overnight, we literally lost our entire workforce.”
It was a sad moment for these people who spend a majority of their lives working to help these animals. Sander says, “It is unfortunate. We are certainly heartbroken that we can’t continue to provide the service we normally would.”
Normally it’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Even though new intakes are not an option now, they are still taking care of the animals they already have on site. Their team is also returning phone calls if people need help.
The Wildlife Medical Clinic will reconsider its options to reopen once the “Stay at Home” order is lifted.
In the meantime, they are referring people to alternate resources. There are licensed wildlife rehabilitation organizations throughout the state. Click this link for more information.