The Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center of Roanoke is a full-time facility that takes in injured or orphaned wildlife. Their mission is twofold: to contribute to wildlife conservancy by rehabilitating wildlife indigenous to Virginia. The animals may have suffered injury, abandonment or illness, with a goal to rehabilitate the animal and return it to its natural habitat. The SWVAC serves Roanoke and surrounding counties and works closely with the public, law enforcement, animal control officers and a network of local rehabilitators. In 2016, the center admitted and triaged 1,869 wounded or abandoned wildlife consisting of 150 different species.
The second part of their mission is dedicated to the identification, education and awareness of local indigenous wildlife and the importance of the role each species plays in promoting a healthy and sustainable environment for our community. SWVA Wildlife is the only organization in the Roanoke Valley that is federally permitted to be able to present live species of indigenous wildlife to the public. The center provides a unique classlike approach to harness the power of active learning when presenting their wildlife ambassadors and associated wildlife and conservation information. SWVA Wildlife attends pre-arranged K-12 educational programs, public outreach events and private corporate or organizational sponsored meetings with their educational ambassadors. Last year, their education staff presented programs to more than 3,157 individuals.
The education department is headed by Judy Loope. The balance of its staff is volunteers who might be members of our community, interns from surrounding veterinary universities and college students.
The center, located in Roanoke County, is served by Sabrina Leonard-Garvin, executive director with over 22 years of experience in rehabilitation and Dr. Diane D’Orazio, full-time veterinarian. Sabrina’s husband, Dr. Lucky Garvin serves on the board. The center has access to radiologic diagnostics and various surgeries which may be simple or quite complex, as well as a large variety of medicines and diets for the varied patients—virtually any bird from eagles to hummingbirds, and any mammals from bears to chipmunks.
The Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center of Roanoke is a registered 501(c)(3) that operates full time on a volunteer staff and the generosity of donations. As with most not-for-profit organizations, they are constantly in need of capital—like others, depending on the contributions of Virginians.
For more information, visit SWVAWildlifeCenter.org, Facebook or Instagram or call 540.798.9836.