Economy threatens Wellington wildlife center

By Chuck Weber bio | email

WELLINGTON, FL (WFLX) - An organization healing injured wildlife needs help itself. With the bad economy drastically reducing donations, Folke Peterson Wildlife Center in Wellington, says it's in danger of closing.

Monday afternoon an Animal Control officer arrived at the Center's state-of-the-art veterinary facility with an injured and emaciated pigeon. Just down the hallway, staffers were busy feeding orphaned baby possums. In another structure on the property, an injured Osprey is learning how to fly again in Folke Peterson's 100-foot long flight cage, which is unique in Palm Beach County.

Every month the organization takes in hundreds of creatures like these, nursing them back to health. But now the Center's work saving wildlife is in danger of going away.

"We unfortunately are caught up in the same economic downward spiral that most non-profits are," explains executive director Heather Landstrom. She says contributions are way down, because both foundations and individuals have less to give. And being just 5 years old, Folke Peterson has fewer benefactors it can call on in a pinch.

"We'll probably close by the end of the month if we don't have help," says Landstrom. The Center has received a pledge from the Batchelor Foundation, to match donations up to $300,000, and so far Folke Peterson has raised $120,000. But it needs more cash now to stay open.

"Some 6,000 animals a year will die if we are not here," exclaims Landstrom. Not to mention the educational work the Center does with animals too injured to be released into the wild.

If you want to help, contact Folke Peterson Wildlife Center at 561-793-2473 or