Critters Re-Entering the Wild

By Julia Richards | Photographed by Valerie Tobias

Paige Pederson has worked as a wildlife rehabilitator at the Dane County Humane Society’s Wildlife Center since 2014. “I really love my job,” she says. “You never know what the next phone call will bring. It’s extremely rewarding to see an injured animal come in, and then to return them back to their environment.”

The facility includes flight pens, where birds can build up their strength and practice flying.

Some of her recent patients have included a juvenile red-tailed hawk that showed evidence of having been shot. Another patient was an injured Blandings turtle whose care included a feeding tube.

The most common animals cared for in the Center are eastern cottontail rabbits, followed by snapping turtles, gray squirrels and Virginia opossums. Many animals are brought in after they are hit by a car. Others are babies that are orphaned.

Before bringing an animal in, call the center at (608) 838-0413, ext. 151. For hours and more information, visit


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