From capable caregiver to empowered rehabilitator
The Raptor Center
Sonnya Wilkins, DVM

The Partners for Wildlife (P4W) initiative, aimed at improving animal welfare in wildlife rehabilitation, has just graduated its first cohort of fellows. Housed within The Raptor Center (TRC), P4W has worked to mentor rehabilitators and veterinarians, provide resources for rehabilitators, and create a professional network to achieve the most humane outcomes for wildlife.

One of this year’s fellows, Sonnya Wilkins, DVM, has been a veterinarian for 20 years and owns her own practice in Montesano, Washington. Frustrated by the lack of services available for wildlife in her area, Wilkins opened Twin Harbors Wildlife Center this year. “The P4W fellowship renewed and strengthened my passion and accelerated my plans to open a wildlife center in our community,” Wilkins says. “Before opening the center, our veterinary facility would transport most of our wildlife to a rehabilitation center 100 miles away from us. Now our wildlife rehabilitate here, in our own area.”

“We are so proud of Dr. Wilkins’ accomplishments and what this means for her and her community,” says Julia Ponder, DVM, MPH, executive director of TRC. Since becoming a P4W fellow, Wilkins has seen an improvement in her case management and treatment protocols with wildlife. She is also now sharing what she has learned with other veterinarians and wildlife rehabilitators in her area. Says Ponder, “It’s great seeing P4W’s work to improve animal welfare have tangible, measurable results, and we are so excited for Dr. Wilkins and the future of this program.”