raccoons, opossums, skunks or rabbits until we can release them into the wild."
These days, she added, rescue calls involving wild animals are more numerous than ever. The rapid pace of development in the areas served by the association's two shelters in Voorhees and Vincentown has resulted in increased displacement of wild animals from areas that once served as their natural habitats.
"With all the building, particularly in some areas like Washington Township, we're getting a lot of calls to have us come rescue wild animals," said Cramer. "Unfortunately, wildlife hasn't had time to adjust to this rapid development, and they end up in people's attics or chimneys."
During the summer, "we're flooded with calls," Cramer continued. "I don't think a day goes by that we don't get a call to have us rescue a wild animal. In fact, there are eight messages on my desk from people wanting us to rescue animals."
According to Cramer, many of the rescues could be avoided if people knew more about wildlife or would take simple precautions, such as securing vents in their homes and installing chimney caps.
Most young rabbits and birds could be left alone when discovered, Cramer explained, but "many people don't realize, for example, that rabbits nurse their young only at night. When they find young rabbits, they think they have been abandoned, which is usually not the case."
Currently, the Voorhees shelter is home to 35 raccoons, six squirrels, 25 birds, six baby opossums and nine skunks.
The youngest orphaned animals must be bottle-fed by Cramer's group of about 20 volunteers, then slowly weaned from human contact, because "once they lose their fear of humans, you can't release them."
Cramer, who helped to start the wildlife program eight years ago, has noticed a sharp increase in the number of calls in the last two years from residents new to the communities served by the association.
"We get a lot of frantic calls from people who may have grown up in a city and are not used to wildlife," said Cramer. "But we also get a lot of calls from people who find orphaned animals. With all the development, we have more orphaned animals because the mothers, for instance, have been hit by cars."
Because of the increased demand for its services, the association is sometimes hard-pressed to rescue wild animals, Cramer noted.
"We have a training program for those who would like to work with wildlife, and we welcome additional volunteers," she said.
For more information, 424-2288.