From bear cubs to hawks, Northwoods rehabilitator helps wildlife - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

From bear cubs to hawks, Northwoods rehabilitator helps wildlife thrive


A Northwoods rehabilitation center is helping injured and abandoned animals reintegrate into the wild.

Wild Instincts Wildlife Rehabilitation Center was founded about a year ago, and leaders told Newsline 9 the facility is helping more animals than ever before.

"The freedom that they experience when they get released, that's what we live for," Director of Rehabilitation Mark Naniot said. He's been taking care of animals his whole life, so it was a natural fit to start his own rehab center.

"We deal with anywhere from mice to bears and sparrows to eagles."

The Center is located in the Town of Newbold just outside Rhinelander. It offers many state-of-the-art features, including a new bear cage.

"Watching the bears frolicking and having fun out there that was worth every bit of sweat and tears that we put into that cage," Naniot said.

But caring for the animals is expensive. Some cost thousands of dollars to raise.

Naniot, his wife and a group of interns run the center funded entirely by grants and donations.

Interns said the gig is definitely full-time. 

"A lot of cage building, a lot of animal rehab with that as well. It's a lot of work," Megan Dearth said. She's been interning at Wild Instincts since the beginning of April.

"We do a lot of feedings with the squirrels and they have a lot of personality," she said.

Rehabilitators said the hard work is worth it.

"When we see that animal get a second chance back in the wild, that's why we do what we do," Naniot said.

That, and a life-long passion for all living things. "I'm on the WTD program, which is work 'til death," Naniot said, "So I'll be doing it...somebody will be holding an oxygen tank while I'm doing an examination on an eagle."

The center is not a zoo and doesn't allow visitors to keep the animals from becoming too accustomed to people. For more information on how you can help, click here:

And check out the story we did on Wild Instincts last year after it first opened:

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