Meet our Ambassadors
Sadly, not every animal gets a second chance to be free. Some of our patients are left with permanent disabilities due to the illness or injury they suffered. It is our privilege and honor to give these amazing survivors a chance to help other wild animals by becoming wildlife ambassadors.
What are wildlife ambassadors? They are disabled animals that will live out the rest of their lives with us here at Back To The Wild. These animals will become our partners in education helping us to connect people to the wonderful world of wildlife.
As you meet our ambassadors below, you'll notice they don't have names. Here at Back To The Wild, we realize that we don't own these animals, no one does. They belong to the wild, not to us. As such, we have no right to give them names.
This Virginia opossum came to us after her mother was struck by a car while she was still in the pouch. While none of her siblings survived, she somehow pulled through!
As one of the many eagles here at Back To The Wild, this bald eagle ambassador still has an important role to play. After being left partially blind and unable to fly due to a train strike (yes, a train!), she has helped us educate thousands of people about her species and problems facing them today.
Eastern Screech Owl
This screech owl came to us after being hit by a car. Sadly, while he survived, he lost sight in his right eye. By becoming an ambassador, he can help us bring awareness to the many problems his species faces out in the wild while getting a second chance at life.
Turtles and Tortoises
Most of our turtles and tortoises came to us as illegal or unwanted pet surrenders. However, some of our box turtles have suffered various injuries due to being hit by cars and mowers, being caught in wild fires, and being attacked by domestic pets. These amazing animals can do a lot as ambassadors for wildlife!
Great Horned Owl
Great horned owls may be one of the most common owls in the Americas but they are also one of the most beneficial. We have several great horned owl ambassadors at Back To The Wild. All are survivors of car strikes.
There is no doubt about it, red foxes are beautiful. However, no matter how beautiful a wild animal is, they deserve to be free. Sadly, every year, we get calls about foxes that have been illegally kept as pets. We hope that through education, this amazing ambassador can help us prevent others like her from being robbed of their life in the wild.
We have many songbirds (like these cedar waxwings), woodpeckers, and more that live in our aviary at Back To The Wild. Many were raised by well-intentioned people who thought they were helping. Because they didn't grow up wild, these birds would never survive if we released them. Hopefully, as ambassadors, they will help us help others like them!
Eastern Fox Snake
Several species of snakes call Back To The Wild home, including this Eastern fox snake. All of them were illegally kept as pets an can no longer be released into the wild. These amazing ambassadors help us dispel many myths about them and, hopefully, prevent others of their kind from being killed out of fear.
As an animal that many people don't even realize exist in Ohio, our flying squirrel ambassadors help us to educate may people on the dangers they face every day. From rodenticides to mouse traps to pet cats, the human world is a treacherous one for these nocturnal gliders.
Like many of our other birds of prey here at Back To The Wild, our barred owl ambassador was left permanently injured after being struck by a car. With a blind eye and a bad wing, he can never go back into the wild. However, as one of our most popular ambassadors, he has made a big difference by helping us help people to care about wildlife and conservation.
Our crow came to us from another center after being turned in by the people illegally raising him. Sadly, because he was fed the wrong diet at a critical growth and development time, he has had many health issues over the years. As an ambassador here at Back To The Wild, he has found a new life helping us help wildlife!
Our amphibians, like this tiger salamander, are some of our favorite ambassadors! These unique and amazing animals often come to us as illegally kept or unwanted pets. As ambassadors, they help teach people about a group of animals many are not all that familiar with and few realize are so common in our area of Ohio.
In Memory of...
While these animals never learn to love us, it does not diminish our love and respect for them. As our partners, we form attachments to all of our animals but some are particularly special to us. Many animals don't have very long lifespans, even in captivity, so it is inevitable that we suffer the loss of our ambassadors regularly. We'd like to honor the memories of ALL who sacrificed so much in the fight for conservation but here are a few that were especially amazing ambassadors.
There wasn't a staff member here who wasn't attached to our bobcat ambassador. After having his future stolen from him when he was a cub by someone who wanted to make a pet out of him, this amazingly tolerant animal made his way to Back To The Wild. For 21 years, he was an ambassador that every staff member, volunteer, and visitor fell in love with. His charisma and beauty helped us teach countless people about why we need to protect his species and the habitat they rely on and why animals deserve to be free. We will forever miss him.
Great Horned Owl
Great horned owls are not particularly well known for their tolerance or affinity for people. In fact, most of our ambassadors barely tolerate our presence! Among great horned owls, this amazing bird was unique. She adjusted well to captivity after being struck by a car and helped us teach thousands of school kids about her amazing species. Having come to us as an adult, we're not sure exactly how old she was when she was taken from us by a stroke but we are grateful we could give her a place to call home while she lived
Like many of the ambassadors we become particularly attached to, this red fox was unique. After being robbed of a life in the wild by people trying to make a pet out of her when she was a little kit, she came to us abused and scared. With a lot of work and patience, our "old lady" red fox became one of our favorite ambassadors. Throughout her 12 years with us, she helped us teach thousands of kids about foxes, their desire to be free and wild, and why we should care about them.