Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons receives special delivery


Emergency care should now arrive a little faster for injured wild animals on the East End.

An anonymous donor recently gave the Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons, located in Munn’s Pond Park in Hampton Bays, a 2007 Ford E-250 cargo van that will be used to reach wild animals in the field during emergencies. The vehicle is worth about $15,000.

When one of the center’s employees or volunteers receives a call about a sick or injured animal, the van is dispatched to the scene. It typically returns with deer, woodchucks or geese in need of care inside.

The new van will complement another vehicle, also a van, that was used in transporting more than 1,000 injured wild animals last year, according to refuge officials. That van, a 1994 Dodge Caravan with just under 100,000 miles on its odometer, often rescued several animals a day in the summer.

James Hunter, a member of the Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons’ Board of Directors, said the new van would be a major asset to the wildlife trauma and rehabilitation center. He explained that the older van, which is 15 years old, has been problematic at the most inopportune moments.

“We can do the transports in the middle of the night without the van breaking down,” he said, referring to the older vehicle. “It could be difficult when you have a wild animal inside that needs attention.”

Founded in 1997, the center assists sick, orphaned, injured and displaced animals with the ultimate goal of placing them back in the wild. If that outcome is not possible, the center then tries to find those animals other permanent homes.

Mr. Hunter said the new van will also be used to transport animals to LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy airports, local veterinary offices, and to the Raptor Trust, a wild bird rehabilitation center in New Jersey.

Volunteer Augie Frati, whose wife, Virginia, is both executive director and founder of the Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons, said the new van would be helpful when traveling as far as Montauk to assist wounded deer or seagulls.

“We bring animals in from all over,” said Mr. Frati, referring to the importance of having a reliable mode of transportation. “We serve the five East End towns.”

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