Buckeye Beat: Wildlife center rescues hurt animals

Right back here in Cleveland, some native Ohio animals are getting the help ‘they’ need to survive. The newest installation at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History is home to numerous animals that have been rehabilitated. While the animals are now healthy, they could not survive on their own in the wild. 

David C. Barnett takes us on a tour of the new Perkins Wildlife Center. 

UNLIKE ANIMALS AT MOST MUSEUMS OF NATURAL HISTORY, THESE GUYS AREN’T STUFFED. THEY ARE PART OF THE CLEVELAND MUSEUM’S NEWEST INSTALLATION. WHAT STARTED FOUR DECADES AGO AS A SIMPLE ANIMAL ENCLOSURE HAS BEEN REPLACED BY A STATE-OF-THE ART INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCE. 

Harvey Webster “Fast forward now some 40 years and we have a world-class facility that has extraordinary innovate approaches both to the visitor experience and to the animal enrichment experience. 

Nat sound- wolves 

DCB “Well let’s take a look around. The eagles present an interesting place.” 

Harvey Webster “They do, we have two species. Let’s take a look.” 

VO: ONE THING TO NOTE IS THAT ALMOST ALL OF THE ANIMALS HERE AT THE PERKINS WILDLIFE CENTER HAVE BEEN RESCUED AND REHABILITATED. 

DCB “Oh look up there who’s that?” 

Harvey Webster “That’s Orion. Orion is a 26-year-old bald eagle” 

Harvey Webster “This is Midas. Midas the golden eagle originally came from Washington state. She collided with high tension wires and she is missing an eye. She’s got a malfunctioning eye and she’s got a little injury to her wings. So here’s an animal that couldn’t live in the wild. We’ve spend a lot of time training her and gaining her confidence, so that she can be comfortable and at ease and unstressed by being on display so people can learn about one of two species of eagles that are found here in Ohio. 

“So we’re focusing exclusively on Ohio — Ohio plants, Ohio animals, Ohio habitats. Part of our goal here is to try and connect people with nature, the nature of their own back yard. Once you start seeing these fascinating animals that share this area with us, it opens up huge doors of possibility to embracing nature and getting people to think about their connection to the natural world and even more importantly what role they have to be good stewards of this Earth.” 

DCB “Well let’s check out some more of those animals, that are a little less foreboding perhaps” 

VO: THE TWO-ACRE EXHIBIT WAS BUILT IN THE UNLIKELY LOCATION ON THE SIDE OF A CLIFF. WITH A 14 MILLION DOLLAR BUDGET, THE MUSEUM PUT THINC DESIGN TO WORK PLANNING THE LAYOUT. CANOPY WALKWAYS AND PATHS THROUGH PONDS ALLOWS FOR UNIQUE VIEWING OF THE ANIMALS. 

Harvey Webster “There are times when the bobcats are on the platform that’s a mere 10 feet from you, right at your level. There aren’t too many places you’re going to be where you’re 10 

feet from a bobcat in any kind of zoo or museum setting. But they also have the freedom to go up that recycled white oak platform and ramp where now they’re looking down on you. And of course once we train them and activate the railway system, now they’re looking down on you literally. They could be above you and looking down on you on the pathway.” 

DCB “For the visitor too it’s the thought of being watched, like they really would be.” 

Harvey Webster “By a predator too” 

DCB “That’s neat” 

Harvey Webster “Not that a bobcat is any threat to a human being, but you know it’s still a medium sized cat. It’s got sharp claws, sharp teeth.” 

VO: THE PARK IS MEANT TO BE MORE THAN A DISPLAY. SIGNAGE ENCOURAGES VISITORS TO REFLECT ON THE NATURAL WORLD AROUND THEM. 

Harvey Webster “Here you have this area where you can sit. It’s like an oasis. You’ve got a waterfall. The sound of water and the wall behind you help sort of drown out the traffic noise and it becomes very intimate and calming. It’s a place to reflect. It’s a place to look up at this expansive exhibit and when populated, you’re going to see birds flying about; you’ll see ducks down here in the water. 

“The possibility of nature is all about you and we’re just trying to make those connections between people and nature.” 

DCB: “Wow Harvey that’ll really be something. Thanks Harvey for taking the time to take us around your new facility” 

Harvey Webster “David C., you’re more than welcome.”

Instructional Links

Website Article & Video: Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Perkins Wildlife Center

https://www.cmnh.org/perkinswildlife

Game: Games2Girls, Design a Park on Water

http://www.games2girls.com/p/parkonwater

Lesson Plan: PBS Kids, Plan a Park

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/newyork//laic/lessons/e6_t3-lp.html

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