Kindra Mammone is a wildlife rehabilitator who founded CLAWS Inc. in Chapel Hill, N.C., and spends a lot of her time doing educational outreach.
Part of that outreach will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday in Danville when she and her daughter, Kasha, visit Raywood Landscape Center, 165 James Road, to give a free presentation to the Southside Bird Club, bringing along hawks and owls they have treated, but whose injuries did not allow them to be returned to the wild.
Like many wildlife rehabilitators, Mammone does not allow casual visitors to her center because the less human interaction the animals have, the better their chances of release back in to the wild are.
She firmly believes outreach and education are an important part of teaching people not to try and domesticate wild animals, as well as educate them about what rehabilitators really do.
“Animals know if your heart’s in the right place; if you just want a cool pet, they’ll hide,” Mammone said of the few people she has brought through her center. “If the foxes are out, you’re cool.”
Mammone said people often assume her center has everything from dogs to lions and elephants, when small native wildlife is what they generally are trying to help, with a goal of returning it to the wild. Anything like a lion or elephant, she said with a chuckle, would be handled by federal agencies.
“It’s amazing sometimes,” Mammone said. “We were catching some peacocks once that got lose, and a woman ran up to me — as we were loading them into the truck with the word ‘RESCUE’ all over it — and asked if we were going to eat them … people don’t understand, no matter how many animals we release back to the wild.”
Volunteers, with proper training, do lend a hand, especially during Mammone’s outreach programs.
Mammone also trains other people to become licensed wildlife rehabilitators, and was the person who trained this area’s wildlife rehabilitator, Tanya Lovern of Southside Virginia Wildlife Center Inc. Lovern said Mammone remains her mentor today.
Lovern said she still takes injured hawks and owls to Mammone when she gets them, but soon hopes to be fully licensed to keep them at her own center.
Mammone does specialize in raptors — federally protected hawks, owls and eagles — and will be bringing some of her winged critters with her to the presentation Saturday.
Thibodeau reports for the Danville Register & Bee.