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Wildlife center offers chance for locals to learn about critters in the region
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This infant Black-crowned night heron fell out of a nest and was taken to the Stanislaus Wildlife Care Center where it is fed a special diet and cared for until it is strong enough to leave the Center. - photo by Photo Contributed

For most organizations, it would be a really bad day to have someone show up at the front door with an alligator, but for the people at the Stanislaus Wildlife Care Center, the toothy reptile was welcomed with open arms, albeit with some caution.

This year marks the 33rd anniversary of the Stanislaus Wildlife Care Center and to celebrate they will once again be hosting their Day with Wildlife event.

The festivities are set to begin at 10 a.m. and continue through to 3 p.m. on Sept. 16 at the Stanislaus Wildlife Care Center inside the Fox Grove fishing access at 1220 Geer Rd., in Hughson. The event will include BBQ tri tip sandwiches, hot dogs, ice cream sundaes, face painting, T-shirts for sale, a raffle, bake sale, kid’s crafts and animal themed activities like wild barn owl pellets dissection, which certainly promises to be a unique attraction.

The highlight of the event always belongs to the various critters brought out to meet the crowds, said Stanislaus Wildlife Care Center Chairperson Donna Burt.

“People just love the animals and learning about them,” Burt said.

Each year the Stanislaus Wildlife Care Center is called upon to help more than 2,000 wounded, lost, or orphaned animals. Some, like a pair of orphaned river otters, are brief visitors at the Center before being sent to other facilities with greater resources to meet their needs or released back into the wild. Others become permanent residents at the Center when it’s determined they would not be able to survive or thrive on their own in the wild. A few of these animal ambassadors include Bella the red fox, Carson, the red-tailed hawk and Hopper, the Raven. Many of these animals travel to schools to help students learn about California native wildlife.

Founded by six members with $300 between them, the Stanislaus Wildlife Care Center now is supported by a membership of more than a 1,000 and has a volunteer base of 30 to 40 people. Over the course of the years, the Center has expanded to include a deer yard, a coyote enclosure and an eagle aviary.

Parking at the Center is located 700 feet down a hill at the launching ramp. There is no parking along the road or at the gate.