This refuge was incorporated in the State of Illinois on July 26, 1999 and licensed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Animal Welfare in February 2001 as a rescue facility.
Our mission is simple: to work in joint cooperation with all avian rescue groups to try and eliminate the need for rescue groups by educating the public about avicultural issues. Until that is accomplished, we will provide a sanctuary for those unfortunate parrots that are in need of a home.
A Refuge for Saving the Wildlife, Inc.’s goals are as follows: first and foremost: put all rescues such as ourselves, out of the rescue business.
Until then, we will:
- Provide temporary housing and care for any and all Psittacine birds (not including those with fatal and/or contagious diseases)
- Educate the consumer public about the proper care of exotic birds
- For those birds that are eligible for adoption, locate a healthy, happy and nurturing home and
- Investigate cases of abuse, neglect and maltreatment of exotic birds and remove them from said owner.
A Refuge for Saving the Wildlife, Inc. came into existence when the founder/director, Richard Weiner, realized that there were many more of these highly intelligent birds than life-long, loving homes. Like many aviculturists (one who is involved with birds), Mr. Weiner began as a parrot parent, with an African Grey, Prince, who was followed by an Umbrella Cockatoo, Ninja. Before long, Mr. Weiner began taking in "second hand birds" from friends, business associates and from local veterinarians.
A Refuge for Saving the Wildlife, Inc. houses many types of Psittacines (parrot-type birds). The number of birds went from 2 parrots eighteen years ago, to 16 as of our incorporation date. Of those 16, all have since been adopted into loving homes and have adapted well in their new environments. Others have come to take their places. Across our main facility and three foster homes, we now serve approximately 50-70 birds at any given time and there is a constant in-flow of new residents.
A Refuge for Saving the Wildlife, Inc. is a rescue, retirement, and adoption facility for exotic birds. We offer birds a stable and loving home for the duration of their natural lives. We do not sell or breed birds. Some of the birds at the Refuge have "special needs," including a range of physical handicaps or other challenges requiring unique living or feeding arrangements. Others have been bounced from home to home, often being physically and/or emotionally abused and have simply become too fearful of people to be "pets" any longer. We now have nineteen permanent Psittacine residents and a red-tailed hawk (more below).
A few of the birds we see, despite our best efforts to help them reconnect, remain extremely fearful of humans and temperamentally unsuited for companionship with people. We search for other suitable alternatives for the birds who would simply be happiest in the exclusive company of their own kind. There is a wonderful, free-flight sanctuary in Bellingham, WA, called Mollywood where birds can thrive in a natural setting with minimal human interaction.
Of course, along with birds with a variety of challenges, A Refuge for Saving the Wildlife, Inc. also is home to a number of perfectly "normal", healthy and contented birds whose owners brought them here when life changes precluded the continuation of their caring for their beloved pets. These owners believe that the stability and ongoing responsible care provided by our facility, along with the with companionship of both people and other birds, is preferable to the possibility of their former companions being shuffled from home to home with no guarantees of responsible care or proper conditions.
A Refuge for Saving the Wildlife, Inc. currently (2006) has a monthly overhead of between $3600.00 and $4500.00 (averaged over the year). This includes food, housing, medical care, and toys. There are NO paid staff members. While Mr. Weiner is both the principal caregiver and executive director of the organization, A Refuge for Saving the Wildlife, Inc. has developed a small cadre of volunteers to aid in the daily care of these birds as well as research, fundraising and long term planning for the organization.
The balanced diet provided for the birds includes pelleted bird food, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables in season, frozen mixed vegetables, beans and pastas.