The Rome-Floyd ECO River Education Center continues to expand its holdings in Ridge Ferry Park, however one of its most recent exhibits has been returned to the wild this week after showing some tendencies that led ECO Center Director Ben Winkelman to believe it could survive in the wild.
A young turkey that was picked up by DNR personnel and taken to a licensed rehabber is back with a flock of wild turkeys in the northern part of the county.
The turkey’s mother hen was killed by a farmer cutting hay and the rehabber fed it before turning it over to the ECO Center believing the bird had been imprinted on humans.
Meanwhile, a young raccoon will remain on display and is showing signs that she may be a particularly successful addition to the outdoor education programming the ECO Center offers.
At the time the animals were turned over to the center, they thought none of them would be able to survive in the wild.
The raccoon — named Rocket — had been bottle-fed by a rehabber after it was found near the location where its mother was run over by an automobile almost a year ago. It is now being trained for educational programs by ECO Center biologist Jason Hosford.
Hosford said the raccoon is eating a healthy diet, right on target with where it should be weight-wise, has been vaccinated against rabies and adapting well to the reward driven training regimen.
The enclosures were designed according to U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines as part of a Berry College Bonner Scholar project for Joseph Mann, who graduated from Berry this spring.