Alaska Raptor Center
History and museums
The Alaska Raptor Center is a raptor rehabilitation center in Sitka in the U.S. state of Alaska. Located on a 17–acre campus bordering the Tongass National Forest and the Indian River, its primary mission is the rehabilitation of sick and injured eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, and other birds of prey which are brought in from all over Alaska. The Center (the largest of its type in the state, and one of the largest in North America) receives between 100–200 birds a year, with many suffering from gunshot wounds and traffic accident-related trauma.
Most of the birds arriving at the center arrive in special containers, having been flown in via the baggage compartments of Alaska Airlines planes. The Center's goal is to introduce the birds back into the wild, once they are healed and retrained in "raptor life skills" (such as flying) in the enclosed, 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) Bald Eagle Flight-Training Center. Many birds that are no longer able to live outside captivity are sent to zoos and wildlife centers located throughout the United States.
A few of the animals that could not be returned to nature have become permanent guests. More than 40,000 visitors annually come to see the two dozen resident eagles, hawks, owls, and ravens, who assist in the Center’s secondary function, that of public education. The most well-known resident is Volta, a bald eagle who suffered permanent damage after a 1992 collision with power lines (hence the name). Though since nursed back to health, Volta now regularly travels to the lower 48 states as an ambassador for the Center (out of the 100,000 or so bald eagles on Earth, half live in Alaska).
The Center is open to the public and offers daily tours.
The Alaska Raptor Center is a private, nonprofit organization.