Newsmakers Making A Difference: Willowbrook Wildlife Rehabilitation & Education Center

Julie Mann
June 26, 2018 - 7:24 am

WBBM Newsradio/Julie Mann

WBBM Newsradio/Julie Mann
CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Tucked away on more than 40 acres in Glen Ellyn is the Dupage County Forest Preserves wildlife rehabilitation center providing medical treatment to injured or orphaned animals native to Illinois. 

"We had a record number that we took in with over 10,000 animals," said Nathan Hambel, naturalist, Willowbrook Wildlife Center. "Those animals who do come to us are sick or injured or orphaned. We admit them and then we have our veterinarian and our clinical staff assess what the prognosis is with these animals."

Willowbrook Wildlife Center is one of the few places people who find wounded wildlife can find help. The center accepts animals that include chipmunks, opossums, birds of prey, turtles, foxes, raccoons, frogs and snakes. Hambel said the goal is to nurse the animal back to health and release it back into the wild. The center also helps other agencies and rescuers find licensed rehabilitators for animals they don't accept, including those found outside of DuPage County.  

Willowbrook Wildlife Center serves as a resource to the community. 

"This is first and foremost an animal hospital, but it's also an education center," Hambel said.   

The center has a self-guided walking trail, a butterfly garden, Sandhill crane exhibit and a visitors center where people can learn more about wildlife in Dupage County. Outside of the visitor center is an outdoor exhibit where animals and birds that were not able to be released reside; that includes a bobcat, which Hambel notes is not native to the area. 

WBBM Newsradio/Julie Mann

"It's not just about knowing about nature, in my opinion, it's also about caring about nature, expressing that to the public and teaching them how they can also care about the outdoors," Hambel said.  

Willowbrook Wildlife Center is free, but donations are encouraged. Learn more on the Willowbrook Wildlife Center website

As WBBM celebrates its 50th anniversary as Newsradio, this year we’ll be honoring 50 Newsmakers making a difference in the community.  Listen for reports each Tuesday.

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