Over the past several decades, local wildlife habitat has been severely depleted as farm land and wooded areas turn into suburbs, and suburbs turn in urban landscapes. Wild animals, whose very survival is at stake, are learning to adapt to living in close proximity with people. In fact, they are doing this so well that many former denizens of dense forests and vacant meadows—foxes, beaver, deer, opossums, and woodchucks, for example—are now living in even the most urban of environments.
City Wildlife was created in 2008 in response to the growing number of conflicts between people and their new wild neighbors. It seeks to aid the animal victims of such conflicts, who are unintentionally harmed by people and the urban environment, and to help people learn to live peacefully with—and even enjoy living with—the wild animals who now share their city.
The District of Columbia has never before had a wildlife rehabilitation center. Washington animal control officers and private citizens take injured and orphaned wild birds, mammals, and reptiles to facilities in Maryland and Virginia, but these facilities are far away and inundated with wild animals from their own jurisdictions. The number of wild animals needing help continues to increase (D.C. Animal Control currently takes in about 1,600 wild animals a year) and the day has come when Washington’s wild animals, and the people who care about them, desperately need their own rehabilitation facility.
City Wildlife was incorporated in June of 2008 and received its IRS nonprofit designation in March of 2009. It is actively seeking a location in order to open a comprehensive rehabilitation and education center in the nation’s capital, one dedicated to the people and wildlife of the city and the promise of harmonious coexistence between the two.