Injured, orphaned animals rescued by Henry Vilas Zoo

Animal ambassador education program will include the new additions

New animals have come to the Henry Vilas Zoo, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said Wednesday.

According to County Executive officials, the zoo acquired and rehabilitated three native Wisconsin species: an eastern screech owl owlet, an injured opossum joey, and an injured juvenile ruby-throated hummingbird.

“The zoo plays a large part in protecting animal populations through its world-renown mating programs, and at times, through animal rescue,” said Parisi. “Our three new, rescued residents will increase the already tremendous diversity of our free zoo. I hope visitors will come and visit these two success stories soon.”

The eastern screech owl owlet arrived from the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo in Kansas, said a press release. It was orphaned and hand-raised, causing its inability to survive in the wild.

The Virginia opossum joey came to the Henry Vilas Zoo from the Dane County Humane Society Four Lakes Wildlife Center. It was injured by wildlife while being rehabilitated. It is North America’s only native marsupial, said County Executive officials.

The male hummingbird also came from the Dane County Humane Society. The hummingbird is missing part of one wing and cannot fly.

“Helping find a home for injured animals that would otherwise have no place to go is something we are pleased to partner with other zoos and rehabilitation centers on,” said Ronda Schwetz, zoo director. “By telling these animal’s stories we are fulfilling our mission to help educate our visitors to the issues facing wildlife and what our visitors can do to help.”

The animals will soon visit with area families through Henry Vilas Zoo’s animal ambassador education programs.

The zoo is open 365 days a year from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is free. For more information, visit