Animal Answers: Wildwoods Rehabilitation Center

Northern Minnesota's Only Wild Animal Rescue Center Continues to Grow

When you hear “call of the wild,” a trip to the Lake Superior Zoo might come to mind. For many in the Northland, we interact with wildlife at some point in our lives. But what happens when that interaction becomes a lifesaving action? Many of us might not know who to call, or what to do next.

As we find out in this week’s Animal Answers, one local center is taking the call of the wild to a whole new level.

It’s a small white house, located on a busy Northland roadway.

“We are a rehabilitation center for wild animals,” Tara Smith with Wildwoods simply said.

A fairy tale like image, with a future looking to break out of the cage.

“We help injured animals and we also raise orphans,” Smith said.

It’s a task, with many day-to-day ups and downs.

“The organization actually started in 2006 when the founders basically found an injured animal and couldn’t find anyone to help it,” Smith said.

Quickly realizing a great need for help from one mammal to another; safely crossing the road 11 years later, and proudly reaching sweet success.

Smith exclaimed, “We are very busy!”

The summer season, brings in multiple wild creatures from birds, to turtles, deer and baby squirrels.

“It’s pretty amazing! I think our biggest impact on the community is probably just assisting people when they find an injured animal. It’s distressing, people want to help and they don’t know where to turn,” Smith said.

Giving Northland residents, a directional path to follow, fulfilling an environmental duty.

“Giving the community piece of mind that the orphan they find or the animal is going to be taken care of, that’s what we do here at Wildwoods,” Smith said.

Offering reassurance from professional animal lovers, and highly trusted volunteers.

Smith says, “A lot of what we do is answer the phone and field questions for people and determine if the animal needs help or not.”

Educating the public, one call [or paw], at a time.

“People can just give us a call and we walk people trough capturing animals, getting them to us, keeping them safe until they can be transferred to us,” Smith said.

Under strict regulations, the ability to get video of the little creatures at Wildwoods is prohibited, but Tara tells FOX 21 nearly 40 animals are currently receiving help at the Center.

“We are basically at the mercy of the community to help us survive,” Smith said.

This life-saving organization doesn’t receive a dime from the Government, only donations from the heart.

“It’s really heartwarming to see that people are really committed that we stay alive and functioning in this community,” Smith said.

Keeping the light on through the dark woods, and life of our Northland critters.

Smith says, “I always leave here no matter if it’s been a ten hour shift or a twelve hour shift knowing that I have done something really good for these animals!”

Wildwoods has already built their new building, located on West Arrowhead Road in Duluth.

They are always open to taking donations, and a fundraiser is happening Thursday, August 11 from 6:30p.m. until 10:00p.m at Clyde Iron Works.

All proceeds and donations from the event will go toward Wildwoods. Big Wave Dave and The Ripples will be performing.

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