Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  Eighteen of the 20 largest banks in the world and more than 50 foreign banks have offices in Cook County.
   
     
     
     



Wildlife rehab is no longer mission
Cook County center shifts to education

Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Chicago Tribune
by Brett McNeil

For the first time in more than 60 years, Cook County residents no longer have a one-stop place to take injured or orphaned wildlife, after officials last week quietly ended the wildlife rehab program at the Trailside Museum in River Forest.

The move, which took effect Jan. 1, leaves only two taxpayer-supported wildlife rehabilitation facilities in the Chicago area. And neither of those locations--the Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn and the McHenry County Conservation District's Wildlife Resource Center in far northwest suburban Wonder Lake--is meant to serve animals brought in by people who live outside their counties.

People who live in Cook County from now on will be referred to private, state-licensed wildlife rehab specialists, officials said. According to one expert, there are 27 licensed rehabbers in Cook County and 200 across the state. All specialize in caring for different species.

The 75-year-old Trailside Museum, meanwhile, will be converted this year into a full-time nature center.

"We see it as an opportunity to take [Trailside] as a place that's just getting by to one that can be an educational resource for the area and the city of Chicago," said Cook County Forest Preserve District spokesman Steve Mayberry. "This will now be the closest nature center to the city."

But at least one county official is critical of the decision to end wildlife rehab at Trailside and of the way it was made.

Commissioner Peter Silvestri said money for rehab efforts was cut from the forest preserve budget after County Board President John Stroger decided the program was potentially too costly and not a proper part of the Forest Preserve District mission.

"I think it's wrong," said Silvestri, who also is village president of nearby Elmwood Park and had been working with area residents to establish a non-profit group to run Trailside. "If [animal rehab] is not part of the mission, why are golf courses part of the mission?"

Mayberry, though, said the move to cut money for rehab was supported by Trailside staffers and by forest preserve officials, including General Supt. Steven Bylina. Trailside has been without full-time wildlife rehab staff since April 2003, and re-establishing the program would mean additional spending that officials were not willing to make, Mayberry said.

"We don't think it's the best use of district monies to get into the business of a full-time vet or to add more staff," Mayberry said.

Trailside Director Jim Chelsvig said shifting priorities away from rehab was a way to better reach out to the public.

"Education is a more practical use of our resources, and we can serve so many more people that way instead of doing the rehab," he said.

But John Morocco, a River Forest resident and longtime Trailside advocate, blasted the end of wildlife rehab at the facility as a "big-time neglect of a public service."

"They're not providing a service to the wildlife of Cook County," said Morocco, who for more than two years has pushed to turn day-to-day operation of Trailside over to a non-profit group that would manage the property and raise funds to bolster wildlife rehab and education programs.

Silvestri backed a proposal by Morocco's group, the Trailside Wildlife Foundation, but he said there wasn't enough support among elected officials. The proposal remains in limbo, and the decision to transform Trailside into a full-time nature center appears to signal the proposal's fate, Silvestri said.

Morocco, whose wife is a licensed wildlife rehabber, also questioned whether private individuals could handle the volume of broken-winged birds, orphaned baby rabbits and other animals brought to Trailside each year.

"There's no way," he said.

Yet the end of wildlife rehab coincides with a steady six-year decline in the number of animals dropped off at Trailside. According to Chelsvig, that trend reached an all-time low last year when 584 animals were brought to the west suburban facility.

"It's been very minimal," he said.

By comparison, the Willowbrook Wildlife Center took in more than 6,000 animals in 2005 from DuPage County residents, said facility supervisor Sandy Fejt.

Willowbrook operates on an annual budget of more than $800,000, while Trailside has a budget of about $250,000, officials said.

Chelsvig said one reason for the steady decline at Trailside is that in recent years, staffers have urged people not to interfere with animals they find in back yards or elsewhere.

"If it's a baby bird and it can't fly, I'm going to tell you to put it back because you're stealing from its mother," he said.

Still, Chelsvig encouraged county residents with questions about injured or orphaned wildlife or information about private rehabbers to call Trailside at 708-366-6530.

 



Recent Headlines

Illinois Supreme Court sets civil, criminal fee schedule
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Seniors: Are your Cook County property taxes delinquent? Your home could be at risk
Thursday, February 14, 2019
WLS Abc 7 Chicago

Editorial: Look out, taxpayers: When governments have more pensioners than employees
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Hundreds of accused criminals on electronic monitoring are missing
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
ABC Channel 7

Glenview adopts Cook County minimum wage and sick leave ordinances, effective July 1
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Lawsuit over property tax assessments survives challenge
Monday, February 11, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

EXPERIENCE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF THE FOREST PRESERVES THROUGHOUT WINTER
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County Jail detainee dies at Stroger Hospital
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office Says Its Gang Database Is on Lockdown, but Questions Remain
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Pro Publica

Charges dismissed against man accused of threatening judge
Thursday, February 07, 2019
Daily Herald

Double Down: Twin Brothers Rehabbing Chicago
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Chicago Defender

Slowik: Residents, officials celebrate rehab work at public housing sites
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Daily Southtown

Class action: Evanston can't charge 'convenience fees' to people paying tickets online
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Cook County Rercord

390 arrested in nationwide prostitution sting, including 38 in Cook County
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

As we build a road, we will protect the forest preserves
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Campaign to weed out European buckthorn across the suburbs
Tuesday, February 05, 2019
Northwest Herald

Airbnb hosts in Cook County earned $109 million last year: report
Monday, February 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County senior exemption deadline extended
Monday, February 04, 2019
Daily Herald

Decadelong legal battle over Barrington Hills horse farm — eyed as huge forest preserve — may be nearing resolution
Monday, February 04, 2019
Chicago Tribune

EDITORIAL: Protect iconic forest preserve from concrete overkill
Sunday, February 03, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP