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St. Engaging with the Charles program’s injured wildlife focus


Fox Valley residents visited St. Louis over the weekend. During a program at the Creek Bend Nature Center in St. Charles, they got a lesson in living with local wildlife and what to do if an injured animal shows up in their yard.

A sold-out crowd Saturday heard Stephanie Franczak of the Anderson Humane Wildlife Center in South Elgin talk about the animals that live among us.

Franczak serves as the center’s wildlife rehabilitation manager and said he “works with more than 300 species of animals.”

He told the crowd he arrived much later than he wanted because of an animal issue that arose before he left the Wildlife Center on Saturday morning.

“We had a raccoon with a big wound on its shoulder,” he said. “A gentleman managed to trap it so we have it sick most of the time when they come so we can’t do much. That didn’t happen, so we said, ‘Let’s try to treat it.'”

Franczak said people should notify the Anderson Humane Wildlife Center if they encounter an injured or abandoned animal.

“The thing to do is call us, even if it seems obvious,” he said. “You need to talk to a rehabilitator because each animal, each species of animal is 100% different. We will walk you through the appropriate steps and also provide a schedule for collecting the animals.”

He said a “large percentage” of the animals they see are orphans.

“We take in more than 3,500 animals every year, and thousands of them are orphaned, baby animals,” he said. “Adults also get sick and injured, but about 3,000 of our animals arrive in the six months from spring to autumn, most of them either orphaned babies or adults looking for mates and with places to adopt babies.”

In the case of birds that appear to be orphaned, he said the center “may try to rehome the animal with its parents.”

“A lot of people don’t realize that most baby birds spend a lot of time on the ground,” he said. “The parents are around, but we don’t want to miss these guys.”

Elaine Patanella of Elburn came to the program and said she encountered numerous animals “including coyotes, deer, raccoons, mice, squirrels.”

“I haven’t rescued any animals, but I want to learn how to handle this better,” she said. “This is good training. “Even if I don’t save an animal, it’s still nice to know.”

Elaine Patanella of Elburn and her husband, Justin, walked to St. Louis on Saturday before the animal rescue and rehabilitation program began. He’s checking out the exhibit at the Creek Bend Nature Center in St. Charles.

Elaine’s husband, Justin Patanella, said he didn’t grow up with animals, “but we bought a kennel and now we run into animals.”

“I would like to have more skills to handle rescue operations just in case,” he said.

Carol Juza of Elgin said she wanted to come to the lecture because “it’s interesting.”

“When kids were little, they would always bring me (animals) and I was often confused about what to do,” he said. “The children are all grown up now, but the grandchildren can grow up. The strangest thing brought to me was a snake. “I once called for a humane society when I found a shot seagull.”

St. John Breckenfelder of St. Charles enjoys attending classes at Creek Bend Nature Center and found a way to get there for the weekend.

“We usually try to attend as many classes as possible here,” said Breckenfelder, who arrived just before 10 a.m. “This class is the newest class and we signed up for it. We love coming here and the naturalists are a fountain of knowledge.”

David Sharos is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News.


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