Looking Back, Moving Forward

2022 Board of Directors – Rachel Avilla, Devin Dombrowski, Marie Travers, Doris Duncan and not in photo, Sonia Lunacek

It is difficult to find the words to express the awe and love we have for our wonderful community. When Devin and I started this little project just over 10 years ago, we really had no idea where it would take us. The people we have met, the organizations we have visited and the partnerships we have created are precious to us. With over 1,200 accounts and 2,734,486 patients, we are truly blown away by how much this community has grown.

The Wild Neighbors Database Project has reached a critical turning point as a non-profit organization. We are growing fast to help support the needs of our users. In 2023 we will be hiring three new part-time people to help support The Wild Neighbors Database project and WRMD users; a software engineer, a development and communication coordinator and a customer support and data specialist. These additions will increase our overhead significantly which is why we are reaching out to our community for support.

That’s why we are going to extend our fundraising campaign and push for another $4000 this week!

We are eternally grateful to all of you who have already donated to this year’s campaign. Thank you, thank you, thank you and virtual hugs all around! While we understand that some do not have the resources to make a large donation we humbly remind you that every little bit counts: $5 or $10 is a wonderful contribution if that is what you can afford.

Your donation will help support several amazing projects we have lined up for 2023. We have been working hard on WRMD 4.0, which will incorporate many of the features that people have been wishing for over the past few years. We are updating OWRMD (O for Oiled) for The Oiled Wildlife Care Network at UC Davis, and we are releasing The Oil Spill Extension, which will be available to any account for a fee. We are also diving into the world of marine mammals and sea turtles so that WRMD includes the necessary fields and reports for NOAA species. We are continuing to develop and expand our WildAlert System (previously known as Wildlife Morbidity and Mortality Event Alert System) which uses aggregate data from participating WRMD accounts to identify potential wildlife health events in near real time. As you can see, we’re having a massive growth spurt!

On top of all of that, we will be speaking at the FWRA (Florida Wildlife Rehabilitators Associations) symposium and the NWRA (National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association) symposium and will have a booth at the NWRA symposium. Please come find us and say hi if you’re also there, we would love to meet you!

Again, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all of your support over the last ten years, and for your continued support helping WRMD become even more awesome. We appreciate and love you all. We hope 2023 is a year of growth and positivity for all!

Warmest Wishes in the New Year,

Rachel Avilla and the entire Wild Neighbors Team

Looking For a Remote Laravel / Inertia.js Developer

The Wild Neighbors Database Project is looking to contract with an experienced full-stack Laravel/Vuejs developer who wants an opportunity to work on a unique and meaningful application. The Wild Neighbors Database Project is a a fully remote US based 501(c)3 non-profit organization which promotes international wildlife rehabilitation by developing online data management software and helping implement its use worldwide to gather and exchange wildlife data. We are a small team of dedicated individuals intent on supporting and improving the lives of wildlife everywhere. It is a tough job but we are equal to the task.

What You Will be Doing

You will be working with our lead developer architecting and planning features at all stages of a project lifecycle, and have the opportunity to recommend and build new features. This position will give you the opportunity to work on applications that solve specific real-world challenges facing wildlife professions.

What Is The Ideal Candidate Like?

  • You should be detail-oriented, thorough, and obsessed with pixel-perfect design.
  • You should be able to anticipate problems and plan ahead for them.
  • You should be self-motivated, organized, and able to manage your time wisely.
  • You should be fluent in English and able to communicate well.
  • You should have a passion for wildlife conservation, birding or natural sciences.

Must Haves

  • Required experience with the following technologies: PHP (5 years), Laravel (3 years), MySQL (3 years).
  • Proficiency with the Vue.js ecosystem using Inertia.js
  • Proficiency with Tailwind CSS
  • Good understanding of HTML5 and CSS3
  • Experience with both consuming and designing RESTful APIs is a plus
  • Understanding of domain driven design
  • Experience with responsive and adaptive design
  • Understanding of key design principles
  • Excellent verbal communication skills
  • Good interpersonal skills

Principal Responsibilities And Duties

  • Work closely with co-developers to implement designs from wireframes / mockups into HTML, CSS, and Javascript.
  • Keep project manager well informed of the status of development efforts.
  • Write clean structured and well-documented code.
  • Be a thought leader on the team, advocating best practices in security, testing, accessibility, and maintainability.
  • Work with management to develop strategy and multi-year technology roadmaps.


Compensation: $75/hr – $90/hr (depending on your experience)

Finer Details

  • Start date: January/February 2023
  • Fully remote based role
  • Contractor 1099 position
  • Based in North America
  • Salary range: $75/hr – $90/hr depending on your experience and could also be agreed on in your local currency

How to Apply

We would love to see some examples of your work, engaging, interactive apps / demos built with the skills required for the job, your github account, your blog (if you have one) and a cover letter with answers to at least the following questions:

  • Why would you like to work with The Wild Neighbors Database Project?
  • Can you share at least one piece of work you are really proud of and which falls in line with the job specifications.
  • Can you give us a brief description about your background, how do you work, what motivates you and how do you manage to work remotely?

Please send all of the above in one email to [email protected]. We promise to personally respond to every single application that at least has the word “cat” mentioned in the cover letter. We will be accepting submissions until Jan 31, 2023.

The Wild Neighbors Database Project is a proud equal opportunity employer. We are open to all backgrounds and never discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.

$10,000 Matching Gift !

We are excited to announce matching donation funds of $10,000!

A few weeks ago an amazing and generous donor offered us a $10,000 matching gift and WE NEED YOUR HELP getting it!

In 2022, WRMD was used in 28 countries by over 1,100 organizations. As of this writing 2,686,600 million patient records have been entered into WRMD worldwide! Today we are reaching out to you for your support.

We are humbled, and in awe, of the growth of this database that began as a passion project by two wildlife rehabilitators in 2012. As we reflect on all the good that WRMD has enabled to wildlife and rehabilitators, over the last 10 years, we give thanks to the generous donors who have made it possible for us to continue to operate this database.

Just this year, our donors have made it possible for us to begin work on WRMD 4.0, which will include some very exciting changes and updates such as daily tasks, forum groups, custom reports, multi-lingual support and so much more.

That’s right! We are working on a complete upgrade to WRMD that will encompass so many of the ideas that our users have asked for that until now we couldn’t do. Over the next year you will learn all about what we’ve been up to. An investment in WRMD 4.0 is an investment for the good of wildlife and rehabilitators worldwide. When 4.0 launches in late 2023 we will be able to deliver the world’s most advanced and inclusive database, designed specifically for the world’s wildlife rehabilitators.

With gratitude, we boldly and sincerely ask for your help reaching our goal of $20,000. Please support us in the way you can to allow for more success stories in 2023!

Devin Dombrowski and Rachel Avilla
Co-Founders, Devin Dombrowski and Rachel Avilla

Crowdfunding Our Wildlife Disease Alert System

We need your help to improve, build and update the Wildlife Morbidity and Mortality Event Alert System (WMMEAS). In case you are not aware, the WMMEAS is a surveillance platform we are developing to track wildlife diseases using data from wildlife rehabilitators and wildlife veterinarians. We’ve set a modest goal of $3,000. Funds raised through this campaign will be used to develop a more sophisticated anomaly detection algorithm that will allow for higher accuracy in detection and to provide open access to the system’s online dashboard where users can query and visualize trends in wildlife morbidity and mortality events and sign up to receive alerts to wildlife health anomalies. 

Visit the campaign page here: https://crowdfund.ucdavis.edu/project/29935

PLEASE SHARE this crowdfund campaign with your friends and colleagues!

Check the WIRED magazine article featuring our system here:  This AI Helps Detect Wildlife Health Issues in Real Time

We Needed You and You Were There

It is with tremendous gratitude and appreciation that we share our most sincere thank you for a successful fundraising campaign. Our WRMD users have become our family and your continued support nourishes our souls. We know that we’re reaching out to you while you also give all you have to wildlife rehabilitation; and yet you continue to give even more. Bless you all! The past few years have been difficult for so many, but its heart warming to know that there’s a community of people that work tirelessly, at any cost, to care for wildlife and help heal our shared planet.

With your help we raised over $15,700! This gift will ensure that WRMD continues to develop and grow as well as support over 1,000 accounts world wide.

In 2021

  • 262 new organizations signed up bringing the total to 1,003.
  • 379,587 patients were admitted to bring to total to 2,231,150.

These numbers are astonishing, and we are honored that so many have put their trust into WRMD to help manage the care of their patients. We hope to meet and chat with many of our users at the 2022 NWRA Symposium in Madison Wisconsin; please come find us if you are attending.

We look forward into the new year with hope that we all continue to succeed in helping those who have no voice and continue to nurture ourselves and the planet we love so dearly.

To Our WRMD Community

Dear WRMD Community,

We will just come out and say it, during this Season of Giving we are asking for your financial support.

Back in 2012 we started The Wild Neighbors Database Project, our 501(c)3 non-profit and launched WRMD as a labor of love. We developed WRMD for the community we love and for our wild neighbors. When we started we had no idea how quickly this program would spread, nor could we have ever imagined that WRMD would be used around the world by over 950+ organizations. We have seen it connect, reshape and modernize the wildlife rehabilitation profession.

The most important thing that WRMD has taught us in the past nine years is that wildlife rehabilitators knowledge, experience data is an invaluable resource for understanding the threats to our environment and collective health. Wildlife health events are the “canary in the coal mine” for our planet, which makes wildlife professionals first responders for many emerging infectious diseases that not only impact wildlife, but also all lives on this planet. This puts WRMD in a unique position to represent wildlife rehabilitators as key contributors to the One Health knowledge base.

We are asking for support from you, our WRMD community. WRMD is, and has always been, free. This is critical for wildlife rehabilitators that could not afford it otherwise. However, if you can afford any amount on a yearly or monthly basis, please consider adding WRMD to your budget. Software comparable to WRMD ranges from hundreds to thousands of dollars a year. We continue to make improvements and updates within WRMD as well as keep up with new emerging technologies. This requires constant development, monitoring and surveillance of the WRMD program. We also maintain a very active forum where we answer questions and help with problems nearly every day of the year. We do all of this free of charge. Please consider helping us so we can continue to help you and our wild neighbors.

Here are a few of things we have been up to in 2021, all of which are truly remarkable milestones:

  • The 2,000,000th patient was admitted to the WRMD database! It was a Northern Mockingbird from Davis, California in the US.
  • Through a generous sponsorship we are now able to provide all WRMD users free access to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology – Birds of the World.
  • We were published in our first research paper in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B – “Early detection of wildlife morbidity and mortality through an event-based surveillance system”
  • With the release of the Wildlife Morbidity and Mortality Event Alert System in California, our partners the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the UC Davis, One Health Institute are now monitoring wildlife health events within California, with plans to expand this ability for other states and countries.
  • We unveiled a brand new Knowledge Base to help our users find answers and solve problems on their own.

Can you help us? Please consider making a yearly or monthly donation to The Wild Neighbors Database Project to help support WRMD.

With much love and gratitude,

Devin Dombrowski and Rachel Avilla and the rest of the WRMD team

Help us Reach Our Goal of $10,000

Did you know that WRMD is the largest online wildlife rehabilitation community in the world, connecting 984 organizations in 50 US states and 25 countries? Since 2012 WRMD users have admitted over 2.2 MILLION patients! Our incredible community of users grows larger every year and we need your help.

One of the most remarkable things about WRMD is that it’s FREE. We rely on our users and partners to support our efforts. We see this as a community project and without them we could not continue. WRMD doesn’t sell ad space or any user data. This means that we depend on our supporters to keep WRMD free and constantly improving.

We’re writing today to ask for your support to help keep WRMD awesome and free. Our dedication to our users empowers them to save hundreds-of-thousands of injured and orphaned wildlife each year and collect irreplaceable wildlife epidemiological data. WRMD was developed to help wildlife rehabilitators save lives, but it does a lot more than that. In 2021 we have made some truly remarkable milestones:

  • The 2,000,000th patient (an Northern Mockingbird from Davis California) was admitted!
  • Through a generous gift we are now able to provide all WRMD users free access to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology – Birds of the World.
  • We were published in our first research paper in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
  • With the release of the Wildlife Morbidity and Mortality Event Alert System we are now monitoring for wildlife health events.
  • We unveiled a brand new Knowledge Base to help our users find answers to solve problems on their own.

Can you help us? Please consider making a monthly donation to WRMD. It will be you, your patients and wildlife rehabilitators across the world that will benefit!

Detecting Wildlife Illness and Death With New Early Alert System

Figure 1 from the study indicates locations of cases (small blue dots) in California presenting to wildlife rehabilitation organizations (bigger blue dots) participating in the Wildlife Mortality and Mortality Event Alert System from 2013-2018. Red areas indicate a high kernel density of cases. (Proceedings from the Royal Society B)

We are incredibly excited to announce the publication of our first research paper. Over the past few years we have been working with Dr Terra Kelly and Dr Pranav Pandit from the UC Davis One Health Institute to develop The Wildlife Morbidity and Mortality Event Alert System (WMMEAS).

You can read all about the WMMEAS in this UC Davis One Health Institute press release.

The Wildlife Morbidity and Mortality Event Alert System is described in a study published today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Currently we are in the process of developing a more robust version of the WMMEAS that will not only allow users to define their own target searches but will also alert WRMD users about unusual patterns of illness and death for their patients. Stay tuned because we have some big things coming!

We Are Updating Our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions

At Wildlife Rehabilitation MD, ensuring the privacy and security of our users and their data is our top priority. Unfortunately our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions have not been kept up-to-date with our growth and applicable privacy laws. Today we are writing to let you know that we are updating our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions. These changes will go into effect on May 10, 2021.

We Want to Emphasize That:

  • Wildlife Rehabilitation MD does not sell our users’ data.
  • Wildlife Rehabilitation MD has never sold user data in the past and has no intention of selling users’ data going forward.
  • Wildlife Rehabilitation MD complies with all applicable privacy laws, rules, and regulations in the jurisdictions within which it operates, including the GDPR and the CCPA.

Updates to the Wildlife Rehabilitation MD Privacy Policy and Terms and Services

Wildlife Rehabilitation MD takes its users’ privacy extremely seriously. Wildlife Rehabilitation MD collects only the data from individuals using the Wildlife Rehabilitation MD platform required to provide the service and ensure it is delivered effectively under a wide variety of settings in which our users may be operating. This data includes basic technical information, such as the user’s IP address, OS details, and device details. Wildlife Rehabilitation MD has implemented safeguards to protect our users’ privacy, which includes robust and validated controls to prevent unauthorized access to any content that users share during the normal use of Wildlife Rehabilitation MD.

Importantly, Wildlife Rehabilitation MD does not mine user data or sell user data of any kind to anyone.

You should read the Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions in full, but the key updates in these agreements include:

  • More transparency and control over how we share your data with business partners.
  • We shortened and reorganized the Privacy Policy. For example, we consolidated information for users in certain jurisdictions (e.g. users who reside outside of the United States and residents of California).
  • We updated our United States arbitration agreement.
  • Updated our privacy policy to ensure compliance with GDPR and CCPA and clarify roles and responsibilities with respect to your data.
  • We added a Cookies Policy to make it clear how we use cookies and how you may disable cookies if you wish.

Our Commitment

As always, we will continue to monitor and evolve our approach to privacy to ensure we are doing the right thing for our users. We stand by our commitment to protecting the privacy of our customers’ data, and we consider privacy to be a core part of our company values — to care for our community, our customers, our team, and our company.

Because You’re so Amazing – A Gift to All Our Users!

Wildlife Rehabilitators Are Amazing!

It has been a year of unlearning. We have had to unlearn all of our normal patterns and come up with new ones to match the times we live in. In many ways unlearning is a very important skill and I think our community has it in abundance. While the pandemic had little to no effect for some, for others it had a devastating blow. Despite this global event the wildlife rehabilitation community showed it’s incredible resilience in the face of all of it. What a community of people we have! Organizations had to cut staff, intake more patients and limit or completely eliminate their essential volunteer programs; and yet they still kept going. You are all amazing and we are so honored to support your efforts in the best way we can.

First off, we need to send a huge grateful, heartfelt, giant blown kiss and thank you to everybody that donated during our end-of-year fundraiser. We recognized the fact that it was not exactly the best time to do it, but our resources were getting lower then we like to keep them. To date, we were able to raise around $12,000!!! Bless you all, so much!!! This money will help us upgrade many of the tools we use to keep WRMD working smoothly and efficiently. WRMD just keeps on growing and so we have to continue to grow our database as well. For those that became sustaining donors with yearly, quarterly or monthly contributions – we are eternally grateful for your support. With this support from all of our donors we are able to continue to Keep WRMD Free to All. We consider this project a group effort and without the support of those that can contribute we all help those that can’t.

If you would like to become a recurring donor please visit https://www.wrmd.org/donate. Our goal is to have a sustainable recurring donor base of $1,000 per month.

A Gift From Our Friends at Birds of the World – Cornell Lab of Ornithology

We are always looking for better opportunities and partnerships for WRMD, as are some of our most avid supporters. Well one of these amazing supporters has worked out a deal with The Cornell Lab of Ornithology – Birds of the World to provide all WRMD users free access to their database. If you haven’t used this before, prepare to be amazed! Almost anything that you could possible want to know about any bird in the world is all in one place. When do they migrate, where do they migrate too, when do they molt, what do they sound like? You name it, it is all there. We plan to push up this new update this weekend March 27, 2021. After that there will be a small change to the Dashboard page, where this amazing resource will be located. We are very excited about this resource and it is our hope for you to get loads of information out of it and enjoyment it! Stay tuned for an update to the WRMD dashboard for a link to Birds of the World.

Slowing Down on New Feature Request

We also are in the process of slowing down on new feature requests. We have so many on our plate that we need to get done, we just can’t really accept new ideas at this time. This year we hope to role out a new Daily Tasks feature we have been working on for some time now, that will encompass all of the rechecks prescriptions and daily husbandry needs of the patients. This will help you organize all of your daily tasks in a much more efficient manner. We also have a long list of little upgrades and features that need to be adjusted and finished. So, for now feel free to send us new ideas, but there is a good chance we will not be able to get to them this year.

The Future of Wildlife Rehabilitation Data

When Devin and I (Rachel) started this project we did not know where it would take us, but we had a vision of where it could go. Our #1 priority has always been our users and the integrity of their data. This year we will surpass 2 million patients from dozens of countries dating back to 1979. No where in the world is there a data set like this one, so what do we do with this knowledge, how can we benefit wildlife rehabilitators and wildlife as a whole, and what does this look like while maintaining the security and integrity of all of our users? We are starting to have to face this question as our users, researchers and journalist learn about us and are looking for information about wildlife. We have always used WRMD as a source of aggregate data… While not everybody uses WRMD, the bulk of patients that come into rehab probably use WRMD, so it is the largest most diverse dataset in the world for wildlife patients.

Within California, where we live, we have been working with UC Davis, California Fish and Wildlife and around 40 participating wildlife organizations to help us create a way to make aggregate data usable for not only researchers or agencies, but also wildlife rehabilitators. While we will never, ever release personal identifiable information unless prior approval from the directors of an organization, the collective aggregate knowledge has potentially powerful implications. What if we were able to identify potential disease outbreaks in wildlife before it becomes an outbreak and your organization is automatically notified to watch out for these patients early on? Maybe better legislation can be passed because we have evidence of the damage rodenticide and lead have on wildlife populations. Or maybe the value of wildlife rehabilitation as a professional field is recognized and programs are created to help fund our work. There is a growing realization in the world’s agencies of the need for better monitoring of all animals – silver lining to Covid-19… Wildlife Rehabilitators happen to be first responders to any wildlife health event and they have the most realtime in-the-field information; therefore rehabilitators are valuable and essential members in the larger conversation of the One Health discussion.

Our hope is that we can use this aggregate data to help wildlife rehabilitators, support wildlife and promote the importance of our field. We want to do this while maintaining the trust of our users and integrity of the data. We know that not all of our users understand this crazy, online, database, techy world and we promise that we will never do anything with the data without your knowledge. The last thing we want is to break your trust in us. We are working though this learning process very slowly and deliberately to make sure it is done right. So, stay tuned for any further developments if you are interested.

– Rachel Avilla