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Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah seeks public support as eviction deadline fast approaches

OGDEN, Utah — The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah (WRCNU) needs help from the public as its eviction date, September 6, 2023, is quickly approaching. WRCNU is the largest rehabilitation center in Utah, helping wildlife ranging from small birds to eagles, otters, beavers, badgers, porcupines, and squirrels. The center will stop accepting patients on May 15 in preparation for being forced to move, as the current timeline does not allow for a simultaneous move while accepting injured wildlife.

The situation spun out of a stipulation included in a November 2010 agreement with the city of Ogden in which a 180-day notice to vacate could be issued. The cause of the notice is a desire to expand the neighboring George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park after partial funding was secured for the project.

Male Kestrel after being treated for a window collision and head trauma. His beak is a bit battered, but he is good to go! Photo: WRCNU Facebook.

In an April meeting between Ogden City Administrative leadership, including Chief Administrative Officer Mark Johnson, City Attorney Gary Williams and Director of public service Jay Lowder, and WRCNU, an extension of six months was offered beyond the deadline. The extension is contingent upon the finding of a new building or the construction of a new building being started. Ogden City Mayor Muje Caldwell was not in attendance at the meeting.

According to a press release from WRCNU, the extension would allow animals being cared for to be successfully released or placed in educational facilities while preventing any unnecessary euthanization of animals. While WRCNU has stated its appreciation of the potential extension, it did cite that it could not continue to accept patients simultaneously under that timeline.

Orphaned Red Tree Squirrel pup was saved after a tree was cut down in late summer. Photo: WRCNU Facebook.

“If WRCNU cannot keep taking in wildlife patients, there are no alternatives,” said in their press release published on April 19, 2023.

“We are the largest wildlife rehabilitation center in the state, and there are no other organizations that can take in the nearly 4,000 animals we care for each year. Caring Utah residents who want to help sick or injured wildlife will have nowhere to go, and animals will suffer and die.”

“This is absolutely not our wish. We are committed to keeping our doors open to patients and the public for as long as possible. As we enter into our busiest time of year, we ask Mayor Caldwell and Ogden City once again for more time. Give us more certainty as we create a plan to move forward.”

In addition to donations to help facilitate operations and the move to a new location, help to find a new property for a facility is listed as a way to help the WRCNU. The center is also seeking contractors and social media experts. There is also a petition set up to support the center.

More information on the WRCNU, the current status, and additional ways to support their efforts can be found on their website.

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