Wildcare Oklahoma Passes Major Milestone After Three Decades of Service
In 1984, Rondi Large started Wildcare Oklahoma, a rehabilitation center caring for injured or orphaned wildlife.
“Since childhood, I’ve been attracted to wildlife, and I have a soft spot for injured or orphaned animals,” Large said. “When we started, we would take in one or two animals a year. Now we have grown to care for over 6,000 animals a year.”
Backed by a philosophy that all species play an important role in a healthy ecosystem, Wildcare accepts and treats all species at its seven-acre facility in Noble, including a number of outdoor aviaries and mammal enclosures. They opened the Golden Family Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center in 2015, expanding their ability for animal care, public awareness and education.
Over more than three decades, they have cared for a multitude of animals, but soon they’ll be celebrating an exciting milestone.
“This July, we will take in our 100,000th animal,” Large said. “It’s a big deal because it shows our significant impact on Oklahoma wildlife, and we wanted to celebrate this major accomplishment.”
While Large’s initial focus was helping animals, she has learned there is much more gained from the work they do.
“My first intention was to help animals, but over the years I have learned that we help people too,” she said. “We give people a place to go when they encounter an animal in need. We want people to care about wildlife, but they need a place to turn or they won’t help the next one.”
To celebrate their upcoming milestone, Wildcare is hosting its first dinner fundraiser. Themed “Keep it Wild in Oklahoma,” attendees can join in on the July 20 celebration at Sooner Legends Inn & Suites in Norman, 1200 24th Ave SW.
“At this fun event, we’ll share stories from the past 35 years, play WildCare trivia, raffle off some great prizes and host a silent auction full of wonderful items,” Large said.
Wildcare is a nonprofit organization and receives no state or federal funding. Instead, they rely on private donations, most of which, Large said, are small donations that add up. The funds raised at the dinner will help continue their mission to care for and release native wildlife, an effort that requires an intense amount of manpower.
“One of my staff members described our days as organized chaos because we have 500 to 600 animals that we are taking care of at any given time. It’s not like we can put out food once a day and move on,” Large said. “Right now, we have baby songbirds that need to be fed every 30 minutes and they need to be observed often to make sure they aren’t in need because they can’t tell us when they feel bad.”
“We pick up animals every day that are dropped off at the Oklahoma City animal shelter,” she said. “We do 17 loads of laundry in a day, and we have to wash by species. There is a lot to keep going and the phone rings off the wall with people with animals they want to help.”
If you want to be a part of the dinner, Large said table sponsorships and tickets are available. However, there are other ways to be part of the evening.
“We are also looking for donations of goods and services to include in their raffle and silent auction,” Large said.
To learn more about the foundation and their fundraiser, visit www.wildcareoklahoma.org or check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WildCareOklahoma/. Volunteer opportunities are also available at Wildcare. Interested adults must be willing to commit at least three hours a week for three months. – BSM