LEWISBURG — A young bald eagle that was injured over a year ago that never regained the ability to fly has been looking for a forever home. The answer came last month when Amanda Badger, owner of Wild Hearts African Farm & Petting Zoo in Lewisburg made the journey to pick up the eagle that was recovering at Treasure Coast Wildlife Hospital in Florida.
The three-year-old eagle was injured after colliding with a car. Although the eagle underwent surgery the wing never healed well enough for her to fly again. Badger heard about the eagle and reached out to Cabela’s and Home Depot to request assistance in building the eagle an aviary. Both stores chipped in and have been eager to help every step of the way. Others chipped in to help with the eagle too.
Erica Keener, a local artist from West Alexandria painted a mural inside the aviary. Wysong Stone in Lewisburg donated the gravel for the aviary floor. A local farm donated meat rabbits to help feed the eagle.
“It was wonderful how so many people offered to help her” said Badger. She named the eagle Eleanor after her favorite Roosevelt quote “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
In order to home and care for the eagle, Badger had to follow a complex application process meeting the strict criteria of The United States Fish & Wildlife Service.
“I’m so glad we were able to help Eleanor, and she will be a wonderful educational ambassador,” she said.
Although the African Farm plans to have pastures with livestock typically seen in Africa, they want to be able to help native wildlife too. The farm currently has Nigerian dwarf dairy goats and they plan to add camels, guinea fowl, ostrich and other small wildlife. Goats milk cheeses and soap products, along with duck eggs will also be available for purchase and those funds will help care for the animals.
The eagle’s new aviary home is in the petting zoo area of the 31-acre farm. There are goats and ducks to feed, tortoises and guinea pigs to pet, as well as other non-releasable hawks and owls for viewing. Wild Hearts plans to open the petting zoo to the public later this summer.
“Eleanor is very special, I can’t wait for the community to meet her!” Badger said.
For more information, visit WildHeartsAfricanFarm.org or call 937-416-5520.