MEDFORD, N.J. (CBS) – The Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge is committed to preserving the natural beauty of the South Jersey forests.
“We have 171 acres of preserved pinelands habit, including a lake, and 3 and a half miles of hiking trails,” said executive director Jeanne Gural.
Every year, thousands of visitors flock to see more than 50 animals who live at the refuge, including owls and foxes.
“The permanent residents are out on display for the public every day of the year,” said Mike O’Malley, assistant director of wildlife rehabilitation.
The residents include the impressive bald eagles, “Hallie and Orion, and they are rock stars here,” Jeanne said. “Neither one of them can fly, so they can’t be released back to the wild, so we built an incredible enclosure for them here.”
Behind the scenes, Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge also rescues injured, orphaned, and displaced animals. Last year, they treated more than 4,700 creatures, making them the busiest wildlife rehabilitation facility in New Jersey.
The goal: get the animals back in the wild, which means keeping the public away. We got special permission to watch them work.
Mike lifted up one of the patients, a baby groundhog, the only survivor of a dog attack.
“Oh, he’s a squirmy little guy!” CBS3 meteorologist Lauren Casey said.
“Yeah, we want to keep the handling to a minimum, so this shows that we’re doing a good job, that he doesn’t want me to cuddle him or hold him,” Mike said.
“He’s like, ‘I’m wild! Leave me alone!'” Lauren said.
Sometimes, patients who can’t make it in the wild get trained as educational animals, like 3-year-old Rambler, a white horned owl.
Everything here runs on donations. The refuge has a new program where members of the public can sponsor their hospital work.
“The public can actually symbolically adopt a wild patient,” Mike said.
To donate, go to http://www.cedarrun.org/content/adopt/adopt.asp.