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Wild animal baby shower draws crowd in Elburn

Published: Sunday, April 7, 2013 4:21 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, April 8, 2013 5:06 p.m. CDT
Beth Ritchason feeds Sugar, a miniature donkey, Sunday as her grandson Alex Schuhow looks on. The Batavia residents were among the dozens of people who came out to the Fox Valley Wildlife Center's annual wild baby shower.

ELBURN – Stroller by her side, Batavia resident Roxanne Borendame watched Sunday as her 2 1/2-year-old granddaughter Greer Sonntag helped feed animals Sunday afternoon at the Fox Valley Wildlife Center.

"It's amazing because she's kind of shy," Borendame said from outside the pen.

Usually closed to the public, the Fox Valley Wildlife Center in Elburn welcomed guests Sunday afternoon for its annual wild baby shower. Held outdoors, the event featured children's games, music, crafts and baby farm animals from the Mini Zoo Crew.

The center, which operates entirely on donations, asked attendees to bring an item from its wish list so it could be prepared for this year's wave of orphaned baby animals, such as raccoons, opossum, fox kits, coyote pups and ducklings.

"We get them all," said Andrea Krueger, vice president of the center's board.

So far, Director Ashley Flint said, the center is caring for six baby cottontails. At this time last year, she said, it had received 100 baby squirrels.

"We'll be getting them," Flint said.

Usually, Flint said, the newborn animals have been separated from their mothers or their mothers have died. Sometimes, however, humans don't realize the mother is still around when they bring the wildlife in for care, she said.

People should call the center before bringing a seemingly abandoned baby animal in for care, Flint said, explaining there are ways to determine if the animals are truly alone.

"The mom does a better job than we ever could," Krueger said.

Although most of the animals on display Sunday were not from the wildlife center, two were: Lucy, a Canada goose who made the decision not to fly away, and Noah, an eastern cottontail born without eyes. Valerie Andrla, a rescuer for Fox Valley Wildlife Center, introduced visitors to both animals.

"They will help birds nobody else will help," Andrla said of the center.

In 2012, Krueger said, the center took in 2,840 animals. The center releases about 75 percent of the animals it takes in, she said, noting the others are too injured to save.

"Our supporters, our volunteers are wonderful," Krueger said. "We couldn't do it without them."

Visit for more information about the Fox Valley Wildlife Center, including a list of supplies it needs.

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