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Rescued Raptors Visit Nature Center

Raptors visited the Nature Center in Cape Girardeau this weekend, though probably not the kind you’re thinking. Free Again Wildlife Rehabilitation brought in several birds of prey to educate and entertain.

Free Again Wildlife Rehabilitation does a number of these shows in the area, all with birds they’ve rescued. Their intent is to release any animals they save, but unfortunately a number of them are unable to return to the wild due to their injuries.

This is where the shows come in. All of the birds showcased were rescued and trained to do educational shows so people could better understand them. Founder and Director of Free Again Bev Schofstall, says while entertaining, these birds are more than decoration.

“It also brings home that they are part of the environment around them, and it’s not just as an ornament out there,” Schofstall said. “That they aren’t just something pretty to look at that flies by. That they have a very definite purpose in the environment, in their backyards.”

Schofstal says Free Again cares for upwards of 400 animals a year, and most of them are not birds. He says people don’t tend to understand animals. This leads to a great many of the animals they receive.

“Well it’s just that if people would stop and learn who their backyard neighbors are, and pay attention to it, that many times the human/animal conflicts that we have are because of misconceptions more than they are real, true problems,” Schofstall said.

Free Again is the only all-species rehabilitation center in the area, working with 20 to 25 volunteers.