Caring for WNY’s wildlife

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – People know the SPCA as a place to go to adopt a pet. But behind the scenes, there’s an animal hospital the public doesn’t get to see. And it caters to more than one hundred different species.

“Anything from birds of prey like this kestrel, to snapping turtles, to mammals, to songbirds, to all sorts of animals,” Barb Haney, SPCA Wildlife Department described to News 4. The center is responsible for rehabilitating and releasing sick or injured wildlife all over Western New York.

“We get that animal as healthy as possible, and back into the wild,” she said. “That’s our goal. Wild animals should be in the wild.”

The staff members and dozens of volunteers care for nearly three thousand animals a year, but sometimes the animals’ injuries are so severe, they prevent them from being released.

“We don’t know what happened to her,” Barb said about one of the birds that is non-releaseable, Aurora. “That’s the interesting part of my job, we have to really speak for the animals or understand why they come in. I can’t say, ‘Aurora, how did you lose your primary feathers?’ We can only guess.”

When that happens, the animals become educational animals for the SPCA. Aurora, along with a turtle named Cyprus, and an owl named Thomas present the department to school children.

“She goes and visits classrooms and talks to them about natural history, teaches about what it is to be a bird of prey,” Barbara explained.

Whenever the wildlife department can successfully release an animal back into the wild, the person that originally brought it in, gets one of these in the mail. A postcard, thanking them for the rescue.

“When we can send this postcard out, we know we’ve done a great service to our community and our community has helped us to do this great service. So we just feel grateful all around,” Barbara said. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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