Wildlife Center Closing

By Al Pefley  email

Wellington, FL (WFLX)

A local non-profit wildlife center that takes in injured birds and animals says it has no other choice but to close its doors.

The Folke Peterson Wildlife Center in Wellington is funded primarily with grants from foundations, along with individual donations.  Due to the recession, the funding has declined and donations have slowed to a trickle.

They say there's no way they can remain open.

"This is pretty much what I do for a living. This is my life, I can't imagine not picking up a hurt animal or saving its life to the point where it can be returned back to the wild. This is basically heartbreaking," said Virginia Bowen, an employee for the past several years.

"We are so grateful for the help we've gotten from the community, unfortunately it's just not enough," said Heather Landstrom, executive director.

Folke Peterson opened in July 2004.   The center has a variety of injured and orphaned birds and animals, such as hawks, owls, pelicans, opossums and armadillos.

Over the past five years, it has cared for 15,000 birds and animals in its veterinary hospital and rehab facility.  Some of the center's 350 birds and animals can be released back into the wild.

Others will need to go to other wildlife centers.

The center's 16 employees will lose their jobs when the center closes, probably within the next month.  They are now in the process of trying to find homes for the animals.   Most of them are not available for adoption.