The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has ordered Wildwoods, an animal rehabilitation center in Duluth, to stop accepting animals after "unanticipated" staff changes at the center affected its permit status with the state agency.
Wildwoods Executive Director Jessica LaBumbard announced the temporary closure on the center's website.
"We are very sorry to inform you that unanticipated changes in staffing have temporarily affected our permit status with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources," LaBumbard said. "Until our permit status is resolved, the DNR has directed that Wildwoods is temporarily unable to accept any sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife."
A DNR spokesperson confirmed the permit suspension to the News Tribune, but an agency staff member was not immediately available for an interview Thursday evening.
Wildwoods has a "general class" permit from the DNR, which allows for "All animals including deer, except big game (bear, moose, elk,antelope, or caribou) or wolves" and migratory birds. Wildwoods is not permitted to take in threatened or endangered species, according to the DNR.
All wildlife rehabilitation permits require the recipient be at least 18 years of age, pass a written examination for the particulars permit class, have adequate facilities for care and treatment of animals undergoing rehabilitation and have a licensed veterinary consultant to advise on care and treatment of animals, according to the DNR.
So far this year, Wildwoods has helped more than 1,600 animals as of Oct. 1.
LaBumbard said the center is working to resolve the closure.
"During the coming months, we will be working to onboard new staff members, train with local and national experts in the field of wildlife care and rehabilitation, and work closely with the DNR and our fellow local rehabilitation agencies to amplify services across Minnesota," LaBumbard said.
In the meantime, Wildwoods said one of the following centers in Minnesota should be contacted if an animal is in need of assistance:
Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota
- 2530 Dale St. N., Roseville, Minn.
- 651-486-WILD (9453)
The Raptor Center (for raptors only)
- 1920 Fitch Ave., St. Paul
Wild and Free
- Garrison, Minn.
- Call the Garrison Animal Hospital at 320-692-4180.