Cape Nature Center Hosts Baby Animals Presentation

Thursday, March 15, 2012
John Watkins from Watkins Wildlife Rehab explains the precautions to take when finding an abandoned baby squirrel. (Missouri Department of Conservation photo by Alicia Downing)

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. -- A recent Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center event "Baby Animals" welcomed guests of all ages to learn what they can do if they come across a seemingly abandoned wild baby animal. A presentation and question and answer session was given by John Watkins, founder of the nonprofit organization Watkins Wildlife Rehab (WWR).

According to John Watkins, when trying to raise a baby animal, people mean well but in reality the effort severely inhibits their chances of survival. The animals don't learn what to fear and what to eat when released into the wild.

Watkins shared his experiences in caring for baby raccoons, deer, squirrels, birds, rabbits, opossums, skunks, foxes and coyotes. But he and MDC naturalist, Greg Jacobs, maintained that wildlife rehabilitation isn't for everyone and it's not always needed.

"Although you may not see the animal's mother, she is almost always nearby and is waiting for a safe time to return to her young," said Jacobs.

The WWR successfully releases approximately 70% of the animals back into the wild after rehabilitation. Last year, the WWR hosted over 300 animals at their facility.

This program was an example of how the Missouri Department of Conservation works to sustain and conserve healthy forests, fish and wildlife and helps people discover nature in their own backyards. For more information on this and other events at the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center, call 573-290-5218 or go online to

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