A Passion for Wildlife in Anderson County

Volunteer Jennifer Worley and Robin ThompsonRobin Thompson Helping Infant RaccoonsRobin Thompson Feeding Infant Raccoons

Many know of the Anderson County Humane Society and Animal Control to help lost pets find new homes, but there’s another place here in the county dedicated to helping animals that are more on the wild side.  Nature’s Haven, a wildlife rescue center created by Robin Thompson, started in 2010 to help wild, infant mammals whose mothers may have been killed or abandoned their young and also help injured adults.

Robin has always loved animals, whether wild, farm, or domestic animals.  After raising a few wildlife animals when she was in her twenties, she found a clear passion for them.  But it would it take twenty years before that passion would come back when she found a killed mother raccoon who was hit by a car on the road with her young cub by her side, unscathed by the vehicle.  She stopped in the middle of the road, grabbed the cub, and put it in her car to prevent it from being next to be hit.

Taking the next step, Robin went about creating a wildlife rehabilitation center right out of her house.  Gaining the necessary training and permitting from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, she brought her idea to life and never realized just how busy it would become. “I never knew that one day I would be operating an organization, a home-based wildlife rescue, nor caring for over 200 wild mammals a year,” Robin said.

Being strictly a volunteer organization, Robin and a select number of volunteers help raise these animals, vaccinate and give medications against disease, and get them ready to be released no later than six months after entering rehab according to state law.  Everyone there are constantly helping the animals and can never take a vacation or sick day.  They are dedicated completely to them and every donation they receive goes right back to helping the animals.

According to Robin, the help she provides to the animals is something only licensed rehabilitators are allowed to do.  Kentucky Fish and Wildlife do not provide nor pay the rehabilitators in the state, and it is also illegal for non-permitted residents to house wild animals in their homes.  Not only is it illegal, it is also damaging to the animal.

“It is extremely hard and stressful to the animal to be raised in a home, then sent to a wildlife rehabber to transition to the wild side,” Robin explained.  “Some never transition and must be euthanized. Wildlife DO NOT make good pets.”

A rehabilitator’s job is an adventure everyday.  Robin has been called to help rescue wild animals in many different situations.  “One day I pick up four snarling, hissing, biting young raccoons, next we are cleaning wounds of a fawn that had been attacked by a dog, sometimes it’s chasing down a Canadian goose with a leg trap latched to his leg,” Robin said.

In addition to directly helping wild animals, Robin also tries to educate the public and youth about Kentucky’s native animals and what is inappropriate to feed them.  She explained that feeding bread to ducks or geese can be extremely damaging, causing them not to be able to fly.  She also said that cow’s milk is also devastating to wild animals.

To learn more about Nature’s Haven or to help/donate, check out their website.

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