A Herrick woman reaches out to animals in need across the area.
Anne Eddings and her husband Ron provide a unique service to Shelby County and surrounding areas.
Eddings is an Illinois state licensed wildlife rehabilitator who has found her calling caring for injured and orphaned animals. She is owner and operator of Wildlife Rescue near Herrick.
She and her husband have turned their home into a center for rehabilitating a variety of animals that call this part of Illinois home.
Eddings had a passion for caring for animals from a young age.
“I was always around animals,” Eddings said. “I guess you could call me an animal magnet.”
Some of the more common animals that the center encounters are raccoons, opossums and deer.
These animals are brought to the center after being found injured, orphaned, and on many occasions, too difficult to be cared for as pets.
“People find it difficult to understand that wild animals shouldn’t be pets,” Eddings said. “They carry viruses.”
According to Eddings, while keeping wild animals as pets can be dangerous for humans, it takes an even bigger toll on the animals.
“They become stressed and terrified,” Eddings said.
She said the center is very busy during the spring season and many young animals are brought into the center for care and rehabilitation.
Currently among the many animals that Eddings is caring for are three fawns and two coyote pups.
The animals will be reintroduced into the wild during the fall.
The center relies primarily on donations and the Eddings often find themselves carrying a majority of the financial load.
“To do this you need places and money,” Eddings said. “You need to be able to offer one hundred percent to the animals.”
The Eddings have made many sacrifices to continue helping these animals.
“We sold our horses to care for the animals,” she said.
The barn that the horses had occupied is now used as part of the transition process for the animals before they are reintroduced into the wild.
The non-profit organization relies on donations from the public and is in need of more shelter and feed for the animals.
There are currently 26 raccoons, eight opossums, four squirrels, three deer, two coyotes and one rabbit being cared for at the center.
Many of these animals still require to be fed by bottle, which means very little sleep for Eddings and those who assist her.
While the number of animals that Eddings cares for seems large, she finds room in her home, and her heart, to care for as many as possible.
“I’ve never turned an animal away,” Eddings said.
The center can be reached by phone at (618) 428-5266, or through facebook.com/HerrickWildlifeRescue.