Chalfont, Pennsylvania, an hour outside of Philadelphia, is a lucky place to be a baby squirrel in need. It’s home to one of the oldest wildlife rescues in the U.S., the Aark Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center.
Over the course of the year, Aark takes in more than 5200 animals, focusing its efforts on anything wild, native, and in need. That means everything from sick hawks to injured raccoons to orphaned squirrels, rabbits, and fawns.
Aark doesn’t see its mission as saving the environment as much as helping both four-legged and two-legged creatures deal with how human activity affects animal habitats. “As human beings encroach more and more on their habitats, they get involved with us in often not-good ways,” as Aark’s executive director, Leah Stallings, told mental_floss. “So instead of the squirrel building the nest in the tree, they build it in the house—because the house is where the tree used to be. And then people have squirrels living in their ceiling.”
Neither the people nor the squirrels win in that kind of situation. “It’s not really the people’s fault, but it isn’t really the animal’s, either,” she explained. Aark can help alleviate the problem for both. “There’s no government place where you can take something like that—that’s where we come in.”
Having critical care centers for wildlife that has been affected by human activity—whether it’s a songbird with a broken wing or a raccoon that’s been orphaned…
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