Ethical Eating

Five Cutest Animals Saved Wildlife Center (Photos)

On Clean Plate we write a lot about delicious food and, because we can, we show you equally delicious pictures of it. Sure, pictures of cats would get even better traffic, after all, this is the internet. Unfortunately, while pictures of adorable animals are web traffic gold, there isn't generally much call for them on a food blog.

So, when the opportunity to seduce your page views with a collection of aww-worthy images comes along, we take it.

The South Florida Wildlife Center is hosting "Hero Night," a "friend-raising" event, at DIG Restaurant in Delray Beach from 5:30 to 8 p.m., January 31. After the jump, you'll find five examples of the cuddle-worthy but wild animals the center is able to provide through generous donations from people like you.

Be prepared to have your heart warmed with fuzzy cuteness.

This baby moorhen would normally be watched over by his mother as he learned to wade through the marshy waters of the Everglades with his big feet. Unfortunately, he was orphaned. So, the staff at the South Florida Wildlife Center stepped in and played mommy for him. He learned to eat fish, bugs and berries while at the center and was released in a marshy area in a nature preserve close to where he was found.

These baby squirrels, were orphaned when their nest was blown away in a storm and no mom could be found. The squirrels were raised in the Wildlife Center's nursery and then transferred to an outside habitat, where they learned to forage and hone their climbing skills. They were released on a volunteer's property, safe and sound.

This spotted skunk was found alone and very sick in the southern end of Palm Beach County. After being nursed back to health, the volunteers at the Wildlife Center put out a call through the rehabilitation community and found another baby skunk - or kit - around the same age over on the west coast of Florida. He is now being raised their with his adopted sibling and, when they are ready, both skunks will be released onto a nature preserve.

These two baby raccoons were left alone in an attic when the homeowner trapped and took their mom away. This apparently happens a lot - no one ever thinks of the children. Fortunately, these sweet raccoons got a second chance when the Wildlife Center was called in and were raised with three other orphans and eventually released.

OK, opossums are not normally the cutest animals, but all babies are cute and this gal is no exception. Just look at those eyes! Baby O was caught in an air conditioning duct. The little opossum was successfully raised until she was big enough to be on her own and was then released in the tree-lined backyard of one of the Center's volunteers.

The South Florida Wildlife Center is an affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. Admission to the "Hero Night" friend-raising event $35 in advance or $40 at the door. Visit to purchase tickets. Two drinks and vegan tapas will be served to each ticket holder. A raffle will also be held.

DIG Restaurant is located at 777 East Atlantic Ave. in Delray Beach.

The South Florida Wildlife Center is located at 3200 SW 4th Ave. in Fort Lauderdale. For more information call 954-524-4302, ext. 30 or ext. 52.