Utopia Wildlife was founded in 2002 by Kathy Hershey and Dr. Melissa Newcomb. Kathy had been a keeper and technician at the Indianapolis Zoo Hospital, and Dr. Newcomb did a wildlife internship at Clinic for Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) on Sanibel Island, Florida. In the summer of 2002, West Nile Virus appeared in Indiana, and many birds, particularly raptors, were severely affected. Local animal control authorities and conservation officers were unable to handle the crisis and asked Hershey and Newcomb to get the required permits to treat the sick birds. Utopia has treated thousands of reptiles, birds, mammals and birds of prey since 2002.
Utopia was incorporated and became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2004. At that time, Hershey and Newcomb obtained the necessary State and Federal permits for non-releasable birds and animals to be used for educational programs. Utopia's wildlife programs educate and entertain over 10,000 people annually, and they travel with their animals to schools, libraries, nature centers, museums, festivals, hospitals and rehabilitation centers. They frequently appear on television and in local newspapers. The aim, at all times, is to raise public awareness of native Indiana wildlife and encourage respect and understanding of all creatures.
Board of Directors