LINWOOD (KSNT) – A Kansas conservationist organization is asking for help with their continued mission to rehabilitate injured and orphaned wild animals.

Operation Wildlife’s Executive Director Diane Johnson is looking for as much help as she can get to bring relief to the large number of wild animals her organization has received recently. She took to Facebook asking for donations to help take care of the 348 animals currently under her safe keeping.

This long list of animals includes:

  • Red Tailed Hawks
  • Great Horned Owls
  • Adult Opossums
  • Cottontail Rabbits
  • Big Brown Bats
  • Mourning Doves
  • Robins
  • Canada Goslings
  • Bluejay
  • Ornate Box Turtles
  • House Finches
  • Belted Kingfisher
  • Grey Squirrels
  • Raccoons
  • Bald Eagle
  • Mallard Ducklings
  • Groundhogs
  • Barred Owls
  • Osprey
  • Red Shouldered Hawks
  • Fox Squirrels
  • Baltimore Oriole

Johnson said Operation Wildlife receives around 25 new animals per day and works diligently to help them recover and reenter the natural environment if possible. Taking care of such a large number of animals, often requiring specialized care, has been challenging, especially as recent storms and the tornado that tore through Andover have played havoc with wildlife nesting in forested areas.

Baby groundhogs. (Photo Courtesy/Diane Johnson)

“Strong wind and rain are playing with our numbers a little bit,” Johnson said. “Think about things that are in the tree. When the winds are blowing hard, those animals get thrown onto the ground. It exponentially adds to our numbers when we have inclement weather come through.”

Johnson said in the past 24 hours alone Operation Wildlife took in another 22 animals: 12 Cottontail Rabbits, six opossum juveniles, an adult mallard that was struck by a car, a Canada Gosling with a broken leg and two mourning doves. On the flip-side, Johnson said they were able to release two animals today: a juvenile great horned owl and a red-shouldered hawk.

These animals arrive quickly but often take a long time to recover before they are ready to be released back into the environment. However, when an animal is able to be released, it makes all the hard work worth it.

“I don’t have words for it, it’s a relief,” Johnson said. “That we’re able to get another one back out there.”

Operation Wildlife serves nine northeast Kansas counties and areas of northwestern Missouri, but often accepts animals from a much larger area. Many of the animals received by the organization come from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, the Kansas Highway Patrol, animal control officers, veterinarians and private individuals.

The care provided to injured and orphaned wildlife includes medical services, special housing, natural foods or close substitutes and exposure to “siblings” and/or “foster parents.”

To help Operation Wildlife out with donations, go to their website here. You can also mail a Walmart gift card to 23375 Guthrie Rd. in Linwood, Kansas 66052. You can also reach out to their organization on Facebook here or by email at opwildlife@aol.com. Operation Wildlife also accepts volunteers and people who want to sign their land up as places to release wildlife into safely.