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Montana's Outdoor Legacy Foundation raises funds in hopes to remodel

Posted at 10:34 PM, Dec 31, 2019
and last updated 2020-01-01 16:26:55-05

Montana's Outdoor Legacy Foundation is currently raising funds to remodel and expand the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at Montana Wild.

The remodel would allow for more access to the ambassador birds for visitors at Montana Wild.

"We have an enormous impact and enormous beneficial effect on the public's knowledge of our wildlife, their appreciation and therefore their support," said volunteer Art Compton.

Everyday at Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Montana Wild people can see owls, hawks and eagles with handlers roaming the education center.

Birds participate in regular education programs and staff say when it comes to education, nothing compares to the real thing.

"You know here at fish wildlife and parks, we're pretty fortunate," said Laurie Wolf, FWP Education Bureau Chief. "Many of us get get outdoors and recreate but in some instances, especially with a lot of our youth, they're not getting that opportunity and this gives them a chance to experience that animal and hopefully get excited about that species and conserving that species."

The birds come to Montana Wild from the nearby wildlife rehabilitation center.

Originally constructed for the rehabilitation of bears the center now sees around a hundred birds each year who were injured in the wild.

"In some cases after doing extensive work with them we realize that they're just not going to be a good candidate for release," said Wolf. "And in those cases we will look at their disposition, their personality and see if they would be a potential either an ambassador bird for us here at Montana WILD or for another facility."

The center works on a very tight budget and depend on more the more than 40 volunteers to care for the birds of prey, including feeding and cleaning cages.

Although the bird will never return to the wild, staff say these animals will have a much greater impact on species as a whole.

The ambassador birds and their handlers participate in regular education programs and end up meeting with thousands of children each year.

This helps educate the next generation on how to be good stewards to Montana's wildlife.