Staffed primarily by College of Veterinary Medicine student volunteers, the nonprofit Wildlife Medical Clinic (WMC) treats and cares for injured and orphaned animals with the intent of releasing them back into the wild. Student volunteers offer care 24-hours a day, seven days a week, and members of the public may drop off injured or orphaned animals at the Small Animal Clinic’s reception desk. Animals welcomed into the clinic include all native wildlife, with the exception of skunks and bats due to the risk of rabies. In the event that an animal cannot be released due to a debilitating injury or defect that affects the possibility of survival in the wild, the WMC also performs humane euthanasia.
In some circumstances, the WMC will place permanently disabled animals with zoos, wildlife facilities, or nature centers. These animals become ambassadors for their species in education campaigns. The WMC currently cares and trains four non-releasable raptors through its Resident Bird of Prey program, which allows veterinary students first-hand experience in caring for wildlife and learning about concepts used by zoos and keepers. Furthermore, the birds also serve as ambassadors in community outreach and public relations programs for Illinois wildlife education. Resident raptors include a northern saw-whet owl, a red-tailed hawk, an American kestrel falcon, and a great horned owl. The WMC also cares for a painted turtle and a blue-tongued skink, a large lizard native to Australia.