Call of the Wild Conference

November 13-15, 2015

The Wildlife Center of Virginia invites you to the 20th annual Call of the Wild conference on wildlife rehabilitation. Wildlife rehabilitators, veterinary professionals, wildlife biologists, environmental educators, and wildlife enthusiasts from Virginia and beyond will share ideas and knowledge that can benefit wildlife, the environment, and the continually evolving field of wildlife rehabilitation.

The conference is sponsored by The Wildlife Center of Virginia, one of the nation’s leading teaching and research hospital for native wildlife, and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

From first-time conference attendees to seasoned veterans, Call of the Wild 2015 has something for you. We hope you will be able to join us for this exciting event!

Friday Sessions and Events

We're pleased to offer two sessions on Friday, November 13 this year -- a beginner seminar and a rabies education seminar!

Introduction to Wildlife Rehabilitation: Beginner’s Seminar  8:00 a.m. to 12 noon 
This seminar is ideal for those getting started in the field of wildlife rehabilitation. Discussion will include the Virginia permitting process, with a focus on helping the new wildlife rehabilitator decide which species he/she would like to and can rehabilitate. Wildlife laws, the wildlife rehabilitator’s code of ethics, and considerations on becoming a rehabilitator will be examined. Instructors will examine the who, what, when, where, and why of setting up a home rehabilitation room/facility, and will include information on stocking the appropriate equipment and supplies. The importance of natural history will be emphasized, and attendees will learn how to develop an animal nutrition plan. Finally, the seminar will examine the rehabilitation processes of an infant mammal and nestling songbird, from birth to release. Our case-study approach makes learning about wildlife rehabilitation fun and practical for the beginner!  Participants receive a certificate of attendance worth four (4) CE credits. $35 fee; $5 late fee applied after November 4. Lunch is on your own. 
Note: This seminar is a combination of two of the Center’s introductory classes, Introduction to Wildlife Rehabilitation and Wildlife Rehabilitation 101.

Rabies Education for the Wildlife Rehabilitator  1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. **
This year, the Wildlife Center is offering a free half-day rabies education seminar for wildlife professionals. Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system of infected mammals. According to RabiesWatch, rabies is the leading viral zoonosis in terms of global public health significance. Virginia and many other East Coast states (including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and North Carolina) have some of the highest reported cases of rabid wildlife in the country. Wildlife professionals caring for high-risk rabies species need to stay current on rabies information for both human and wildlife safety. This seminar will include discussion on epidemiology, transmission, exposure definitions, viral pathogenesis, diagnosis, Virginia statistics and reporting, and disease prevention. Expert speakers will also dispel common rabies myths and will review sample cases. Participants will receive a certificate of attendance worth three (3) CE credits. Free.

Dr. Charles Rupprecht, The Wistar Institute and LYSSA LLC
Steve Simpson, Virginia Department of Health
Dr. Megan Kirchgessner, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Fun and Social Events

Wildlife Center Tours – Friday  at 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 pm
Tour the Wildlife Center of Virginia, a hospital for native wildlife. Located in Waynesboro, the Center is just a few minutes away from the Best Western. Participants will need to provide their own transportation to the WCV; plan to arrive 5-10 minutes before tour time. Reservations required. Please note 4:30 p.m. tour is now full. 

Welcome Reception – Friday 7 pm
Join us in the pre-function area of the Best Western for drinks, desserts, and the opportunity to mingle with conference participants. Early check-in at registration table.

Saturday Schedule

7:45 am - 8:45 am – Registration
8:45 am - 9:00 am – Welcome

Session 1 – 9:10 am - 10:10 am
A. Avian Analgesia**
This lecture will be a literature review of avian analgesia, primarily focusing on NSAIDS and opiods but with additional information about local anesthetics and other drugs.
Dr. Cristin Kelley, Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, DE

B. Introduction to Small Mammal Rehabilitation
This class is for those who are new to wildlife rehabilitation. Discussion will include the basic care of small mammals such as gray squirrels, flying squirrels, opossums, and bunnies. 
Jessie Cole, Rockfish Wildlife Sanctuary, VA

Session 2 – 10:20 a.m. - 11:20 a.m. 
A. Tool Time! Easy-to-Build Raptor Housing
Raptor enclosures can be easily constructed with standard dimensional lumber. Step-by-step guidelines will be given, and well as some pros and cons of utilizing Starplate domes and contractor-built cages. Topics include "lessons learned” on site selection, exterior walls, roofing, interior netting, doors, and raptor furniture.
Curt LeVan, Fort Valley Wildlife Center, VA

B. Make No Bones About It: It's Not All Metabolic Bone Disease**
Metabolic bone disease (MBD) is a term often used inappropriately when discussing patients with an abnormal gait. This lecture will provide an in-depth explanation of MBD, including treatment and prevention in birds, reptiles, and mammals. Other differentials for lameness (an abnormal gait) will be covered as well.
Dr. Helen Ingraham, Wildlife Center of Virginia

Session 3 -- 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. 
A. It's All About the Feather
Feathers are vital to survival of birds. Issues like insufficient waterproofing, contamination, and feather damage are frequently observed by the rehab community, and poor feather condition can delay the release of an otherwise healthy bird. Fortunately, there are some tried and true methods that address these concerns before they become long-term problems. This presentation will cover feather structure, decontamination, and damage prevention.
Meagan Demeter and Samantha Christie, Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, DE

B. Rehabilitation and Medical Care of Orphaned White-tailed Deer**
Odocoileus virginianus inhabit the entire contiguous United States minus two or three states in the West. Each spring, rehabilitators receive “kidnapped” fawns found alone and mistaken for orphans. Public education and return or fostering offer the best chance for survival. When not possible, rehabilitation requires knowledge of natural history, GI anatomy, housing, handling, bottle feeding, rack training and browse. Discussion will include tips and tricks for rehab, plus common problems such as bloat, taming, and capture myopathy. Why rehabilitate fawns? They commonly carry zoonotic diseases like Cryptosporidium and Giardia. Keeping Bambi out of the hands of private citizens provides an important public health service.
Dr. Kelli Knight, Wildlife Center of Virginia

LUNCH & NETWORKING - 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Session 4 -- 1:40 p.m. - 2:40 p.m. 
A. Flying Solo: A Roundtable Discussion for DIY Rehabilitators
At-home wildlife rehabilitators face a number of challenges – one fundamental challenge can be successfully and safely managing the admission and care of patients on your own! How do wildlife rehabilitators manage to work alone and get things done? Join us for this interactive roundtable discussion on flying solo. A panel of rehabilitators will be available to kick off the discussion, but we want to hear everyone’s tips and tricks!

B. Raccoon Rehabilitation
Wildcat Creek Wildlife Center raises 100 - 140 orphaned raccoons annually. This presentation will cover diet guidelines, vaccine protocols, antiparasitics, housing, enrichment, release considerations and site selection.
Denise Hays, Wildcat Creek Wildlife Center, IN

C. Avian Bandaging* [3-hour lecture and lab]  This lab is now full. **
This workshop will cover avian fracture stabilization techniques for rehabilitators. This session will also explore the range of materials available and their uses. The practical section will use cadavers of various avian species, highlighting species-specific issues and using creative stabilization to reduce stress and increase the release possibilities. 
Dr. Lynn Miller, Cape Wildlife Center, MA
*Space is limited. 

Session 5 -- 2:50 p.m. - 3:50 p.m. 
A. WILD-ONe: A Four-Year Summary of Amazing Rehabilitation Record-keeping**
WILD-ONe is a free online patient management system designed specifically for the wildlife rehabilitation community. The project goals are to: 1) build an online patient record system allowing wildlife rehabilitators to more quickly and accurately record and access patient information; and 2) consolidate basic patient information entered from participating sites to create an extensive database that can be used for monitoring trends in wildlife health and natural history. To date, more than 170,000 patients have been entered into the WILD-ONe database, giving us amazing insights into the animals seen by wildlife rehabilitators. This talk will summarize observed trends and discuss how the information might be used and how rehabbers can participate.
Dr. Dave McRuer, Wildlife Center of Virginia

B. Bringing Up Baby Bats [2-hour lecture]**
Learn about raising bats from soup to nuts! Bats cause great consternation for many rehabbers because they are one of the smallest mammals, are incredibly intelligent, and grow like songbirds. In the rehab community, there is conflicting information about diets, housing, and release. This talk will address common questions, like “what is it?”, “what do I feed it?”, “why isn’t it flying yet?”, and “can I ever release it?”.
Leslie Sturges, The Save Lucy Campaign, VA

Session 6 -- 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. 
A. Monitoring Virginia's Amphibians and Reptiles
With more than 84 species of amphibians and 66 species of reptiles, Virginia has an especially rich herpetofaunal heritage. Yet, more than one third of species are threatened by habitat degradation and loss, unsustainable use, pollution, and disease. Working with universities and other institutions, NGOs and federal and state partners, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is supporting research to surveil, assess, and monitor the conservation status of more than a dozen species or communities of amphibians and reptiles in the Commonwealth. Tom Akre, a wildlife ecologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, will present an overview of several of these projects, including species of all major taxa from across Virginia.
Dr. Tom Akre, Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation, SCBI, VA

Sunday Schedule

7:45 am - 8:30 am – Registration

Session 1 -- 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. 
A. Wildlife First Responders**
This presentation provides information and guidelines on wildlife triage. When a wild animal is brought to a rehabilitation center, an important and careful decision must be made (based on the severity of the animal’s injuries) on whether to treat or humanely euthanize. Through case studies, this presentation walks rehabilitators through the process of wildlife triage, indications for euthanasia, and the basics of emergency stabilization and supportive care.
Dr. Karen Alroy, City Wildlife, Washington, DC

B. Lead in Wildlife**
A wide species range of patients admitted to rehabilitation centres are impacted by lead ingestion, with sources ranging from ballistics and fishing gear to building materials. The resulting toxic assault may result in a range of responses from mild symptoms to death. This presentation will review the sources of lead, the species impacted, species tolerances, lead testing and treatment, and potential outcomes. The protocols developed at the Lead Conference 2015 being hosted by the Cape Wildlife Center will be reviewed. 
Dr. Lynn Miller, Cape Wildlife Center, MA

Session 2 -- 10:10 a.m. - 11:10 a.m. 
A. Zoonotic Diseases of Concern**
This lecture will provide an overview of the main zoonotic diseases of concern that can be contracted from our wildlife patients. The class will cover organisms from mammals, reptiles, and birds. The review of each disease will include signs and symptoms in animals and people, where it is found, and how it can be prevented or treated. A brief review of avian influenza over the past year will also be included.
Dr. Will Sander, City Wildlife, Washington, DC

B. Common Wound Successes Case Study
This presentation will highlight the amazing healing powers of the wildlife we work with! Discussion will focus on two interesting, successful wound cases that came through the doors at Woodlands Wildlife Refuge. One was a fox with a foot trap injury, and the other a fox with a large facial injury. Photos and details about these cases will include the entire treatment process.
Heather Freeman, Woodlands Wildlife Refuge, NJ

Session 3 -- 11:20 a.m. - 12:05 p.m. 
A. Wildlife Crimes
This presentation will provide rehabbers with a basic overview of wildlife crime investigations. The information shared will reflect what rehabbers should be on the lookout for and what information is important to retain in order to help solve a wildlife crime.
Officer Chance Dobbs, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

B. Honey in Wound Management**
This lecture will cover the properties of honey, types and preparations of honey for medical use, and current medical uses of honey in wound management.
Dr. Cristin KelleyTri-State Bird Rescue & Research, DE

LUNCH & NETWORKING - 12:05 pm - 1:05 pm

Session 4 -- 1:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. 
A. Education Program Basics: How to Get Started
One of the most important aspects of wildlife rehabilitation is prevention; we can help wild animals avoid the need for care by educating the public about wildlife. Education programs at schools and public venues can be important tools for educating and engaging your community. This class will explore what individual rehabilitators need to begin an outreach and education program that uses live animals. We’ll cover logistics, program themes, animal selection, and the permitting process. At the end of this class, you should have a clear idea about how to start a small-scale education program.
Raina Krasner, Wildlife Center of Virginia

B. Perfecting Your Physical Exam* This lab is now full.  **
This session will provide a lecture and hands-on laboratory, highlighting the intricacies of performing physical exams on species such as songbirds, raptors, wild mammals, and reptiles. The lecture will outline how to perform a thorough and complete physical exam, with additional information regarding how to identify common injuries seen in a wildlife rehabilitation setting. The laboratory will include cadaver examples of common injuries that can be detected on physical exam, such as luxations, fractures, and turtle aural abscesses.  
Dr. Dana Franzen, Wildlife Center of Virginia
*Space is limited. 

Session 5 -- 2:55 p.m. - 4:10 p.m. 
A. The One and the Many: Ethical Implications of Wildlife in Captivity
The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation requires that we preserve wildlife for the public trust, sustaining wildlife for current and future generations. But what of our obligation to the wildlife itself? In this workshop we'll explore together the ethical implications of wild individuals in rehabilitation, education, and research.  
Dr. Tamara Johnstone-Yellin, Bridgewater College, VA

** These classes are eligible for continuing education hours for licensed veterinarians and veterinary technicians in Virginia based on 18VAC150-20-70, item 2.h. The Call of the Wild conference is co-sponsored by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.


Early-bird two-day (Saturday/Sunday) conference rate is $130; one-day rate is $80. $10 late fee applied for those registering/paying after November 4. Student rates will be available for full-time students with a valid ID.  Friday beginner's seminar is $35. 


The conference will be held at Best Western Inn & Suites Conference Center in Waynesboro, VA, conveniently located off of Interstate 64 at Exit 94.

The Best Western offers spacious non-smoking rooms with wireless internet access, cable satellite television, an in-room coffee maker, microwave, and refrigerator. This pet-friendly hotel features an array of amenities, including a complimentary hot breakfast buffet, an indoor heated saltwater pool, and a fitness center. Many local restaurants are within walking distance of the hotel.

Room reservations and payment must be made through the Best Western. To reserve a room, please call the hotel directly at: 540-942-1100.

Price and availability is guaranteed through October 19 at midnight, so be sure to make your reservations early! When making reservations, mention that you are attending the Wildlife Center of Virginia conference to receive the $89/night special conference rate.

Continuing Education Credits

The seminars and classes offered at the conference can be used as continuing education (CE) for renewing rehabilitation permits. Certificates will be provided for attendees. Available CE credits are as follows: 

Beginner's seminar - 4 CE credits
Rabies Education seminar - 3 CE credits
Saturday sessions - 6 CE credits
Sunday sessions - 6 CE credits

Air Travel

For those traveling by air, the two closest airports to Waynesboro are Charlottesville Airport [CHO] and Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport [SHD]. Both are within 30-45 minutes of Waynesboro. Both airports have rental car agencies within the airline terminals.


The conference registration fee includes lunch catered by a local company featuring both vegetarian and non-vegetarian entrees as well as side dishes and desserts. Accompanying guests who are not registered for the conference must pay a meal fee if they will be eating lunch with you [$16/meal]. If you’d like to sign-up your guest for lunch, please email

A number of restaurants are within walking distance or a short drive from the hotel. A “restaurant round-robin” will be organized on Saturday night for those wishing to dine and network with fellow conference participants at a local restaurant.


In between classes, join your fellow attendees in the exhibit hall, where there will be numerous vendors on Saturday and Sunday. See what’s new, learn more about rehabilitation groups throughout the state, and pick up a gift or two!

If you are interested in reserving an exhibit table, please read this information and email  Exhibitors must be registered by October 15.

Free Supplies & Door Prizes

Be sure to visit the Wildlife Center’s “giveaway” extravaganza in the conference center! Free products and supplies will be available. Additionally, each participant will have the chance to win top-of-the-line products and more through our door prize give-away! Drawing will be held on Sunday at lunch.

For the well-being of wild animals and as a professional courtesy to all attendees … please arrange for the care of your wild patients back home while you attend the conference. We want you to fully enjoy yourselves throughout the weekend, and it’s much less stressful for the animals as well!

From first-time conference attendees to seasoned veterans, Call of the Wild 2015 has something for you. We hope you will be able to join us for this exciting event!