A new clinic, led by an old hand, opens just in time to help baby wildlife survive the spring season.
Spring has finally arrived in southeast Pennsylvania, bringing with it warmer weather, spring flowers and the start of baby animal season. Squirrels and opossums are the first of Pennsylvania’s wildlife babies to be born in spring and the first babies typically seen in Pennsylvania wildlife clinics.
Animal babies may find themselves in need of help for a number of reasons, like falling out of the nest, the death of their mother, or the loss of a home when their tree is knocked down by wind or a chainsaw.
Until its closing on January 29, the Schuylkill Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic (SWRC) was the place to take the region’s sick and orphaned animals. But after the sudden firing of SWRC director Rick Schubert on January 22, the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education (SCEE) was forced to close the Clinic because it did not have a fully licensed rehabilitator on staff.
With the closing of SWRC, the residents of southeastern Pennsylvania lost their best resource for help and information about local wildlife. Luckily, there’s a brand-new option for animal rescuers: Philadelphia Metro Wildlife Center (PMWC), a new nonprofit wildlife center founded and directed by Schubert. PMWC opened its doors on Sunday, April 1 at its temporary location in King of Prussia. April 1 traditionally marks the start of baby season and “summer hours” at Pennsylvania wildlife clinics.
Schubert brings 21 years of rehab experience with him to the new center. He is well known and highly regarded by fellow rehabbers, the PA Game Commission, Fairmount Park Conservancy, Philly ACCT, and by the community he has served for over 13 years. During his time with SWRC, Schubert cared for over 80,000 animals.
Schubert was fired without warning on January 22, a move he believes was in retaliation for his truthful testimony during the trial of former SCEE employee Mark Tinneny. Schubert’s testimony was damaging to SCEE, and the center was forced to settle the case. Schubert was so fearful he would be fired that he filed an EEOC complaint last August.
Schubert will be assisted in his work by the crew of over 50 volunteers and two veterinarians who resigned their positions with SWRC after Schubert’s firing. The volunteers and veterinarians wrote letters of resignation to the SCEE board, voicing their support of Schubert and their anger at the lack of support the clinic received over the years from the board and from SCEE’s current director, Mike Weilbacher.
PMWC’s temporary location is 400 E DeKalb Pike in King of Prussia (MAP HERE). The center will be open from 9AM-7PM, seven days a week throughout the summer season. Staff will be on site to answer the public’s questions and address concerns, as well as to take in animals for in-house care or for transfer to other wildlife clinics. For more information or to make a donation, please visit the Center’s website.