Wildlife Center patients feast for Thanksgiving

Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 10:40 PM EST
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WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) - On Thanksgiving morning staff, at the Wildlife Center of Virginia prepared meals to feed 100 different guests of all shapes and sizes. The staff provided unique meals to a number of animal species that are currently staying at the animal hospital.

Instead of turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes, animals enjoyed a variety of meals ranging from nuts and berries to mice and insects.

“Our staff made species-specific meals which vary greatly from one animal to the other. For example, our five black bear cubs got about 125 pounds of fruit, vegetables, and nuts for their big feast. On the flip side one of our little patients, an American Toad, is only gonna get about two to three grams of mealworms,” said Connor Gillespie, Outreach Coordinator for the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

The Wildlife Center also tries to spice things up for the animals on Thanksgiving with special treats.

“They might normally get dead mice or rats as part of their diets. We might give them quail which is something they usually get really excited about. Or if they normally get apples or pears as part of their fruits, we might get them something like a banana which has a higher sugar content that they’re excited to get,” said Gillespie.

While the center provides a special Thanksgiving meal every year each Thanksgiving is unique because of the variety of patients the center hosts.

“No Thanksgiving at the Wildlife Center is the same because we can expect that every year we’re going to get different numbers of patients and different types of patients. Some of them might be common animals that we see a lot or some of them might be animals we don’t see too often,” said Gillespie.

Gillispie said that the annual meal has grown over the years as has the demand for the center’s services.

“Just ten years ago, we were seeing roughly 2,000 animals coming through our doors a year. Now we’re approaching close to 4,000 animals coming through our doors per year,” he said.

The Wildlife Center said that it is thankful for all the support and donations of the public that allows it to care for injured animals.

“The moments when we get to take the time and see those animals enjoy those diets and have a nice Thanksgiving meal before we go home to enjoy our own Thanksgiving meals is very gratifying,” said Gillespie.