Acadia Wildlife Center (AWC) was started in 1994 to care for injured or orphaned native wildlife. Patients are treated by trained professionals with licenses from Inland Fisheries and Wildlife of Maine, and the federal government. Animals are brought to our clinic by game wardens, vets, police, marine patrol, and by many members of the general public.
We receive wildlife from all over Maine, with a concentration along the central coast and Acadia National Park. We also advise the public on wildlife situations. The center admits several hundred patients each year; answers 5000 phone calls annually; and at any given time can have over 100 patients in house. Some animals come for a day, some stay for a year. Always the mission is to return mentally and physically fit animals back to the wild.
AWC is located on fifteen acres of private land adjacent to Acadia National Park. Coleen Doucette founded the non-profit organization while working as a vet technician for Schoodic Animal Hospital. She left AWC in 1997 to work on oiled wildlife for Tri-State Bird Rescue in Delaware.
The center was moved next door to land belonging to Ann Rivers, the second director. Previously she worked in wildlife rehabilitation and education for the Audubon Society in Massachusetts. She became a master bird bander at the Long Point Bird Observatory in Ontario, involved there with bird research and protection of endangered nesting species.
The next stop was Mt. Desert Rock, a four-acre island off Mt. Desert Island. The Rock houses a whale and bird research station belonging to The College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor. There she began her love affair with bats. While mist-netting Storm Petrels at night, she caught silver-haired bats migrating over the gulf. She has a BSc in wildlife biology from Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario.
Vital to the operation of AWC is the hard work and generous attention of many vets, volunteers, interns, and board members, without whom we could not operate.
The AWC facilities have grown from a 10’X10’ cabin and a bunny hutch to the present day 1,100 sq. ft. clinic and nature center. Fifteen outside enclosures provide exercise for recovering animals. The range of incoming patients requires a large variety of habitats including a flight pen for eagles, a water cage for loons, and a flyway for bats.
At any time we must be ready to treat, feed, and house anything from a mouse to a moose. AWC takes most species of native mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians specializing in the care of large mammals, aquatic mammals, and bats. There are a few exceptions: we refer raccoons and fawns to other rehabilitators; and the state of Maine now restricts the rehabilitation of bears.
The spring is a time of particular intensity and eighteen-hour days, as babies of all species arrive. Baby bats must be nursed every two hours round the clock. Other mammals are fed every three to four hours. Birds, when first hatched, are fed from dawn to dusk every 15 minutes. Baby Hummingbirds, for example, are fed every 7½ minutes! Diets must be prepared, cages set up or cleaned, supplies ordered, and there is the ever-present fundraising to pay for the operations. The Center is a busy place.
Acadia Wildlife Center is a 501 ©(3) non-profit organization. There is no charge for our services. However wildlife care, like domestic animal medicine, is expensive and we depend solely on grants and donations. No funding comes from state or local sources, or the national park. Donations therefore are essential and very gratefully received. Donation dollars are stretched a long way here. Many services and materials are donated. Staff and volunteers do most of our construction. Your support means the continuation of the center.
Acadia Wildlife Center is open seven days a week from 9 am to 4 pm. Please call us if you have a wildlife situation that we can help you with. ALWAYS CALL BEFORE BRINGING AN ANIMAL AS WE ARE BUSY TAKING CARE OF OTHER PATIENTS AND OUR ANIMALS NEED QUIET TO RECOVER. THE CENTER IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC ONLY DURING RESERVED PROGRAMS AND OPEN HOUSES, OR PATIENTS ARRIVING FOR CARE.