Something wild 

Photo: Heather Brown

Spring is always a busy time for the WildCare Foundation, as babies arrive needing extra attention, but this season, the organization took in more than 840 animals.

The facility, which works to release animals back to their native habitat, took in an average of 40 animals per day in the three weeks that followed the twisters. At least half had been affected by the storms.

“Wildlife is incredibly impacted by disasters,” said Rondi Large, the foundation’s executive director. “It was so not the time to hit us with a disaster because of baby season.”

The animals it received included raccoons and a litter of coyotes, which a family mistook as puppies. They will be with the foundation for a month.

Also receiving care are wildtail fawn caught in floodwaters and red-shouldered hawks with broken wings as the result of high winds and hail. It will be another month before the deer can be released back to the wild.

Since each animal requires unique medical needs, shelter and food, experienced staff is indispensable. Karyn Lesinski, who has been with WildCare since 2011, has been caring for a variety of animals, including rabbits, skunks and red-shouldered hawks.

Photo: Heather Brown

“They come in dehydrated and emaciated,” she said.

After the storms, some wild animals came to WildCare through sites that had been set up for lost and injured pets as well as
through the Oklahoma City Animal Shelter. The shelter, at 2811 S.E.
29th, is a regular location for the community to leave injured wildlife.

The
extra patients at the Noble facility prompted the International Fund
for Animal Welfare to send WildCare additional staff shortly after the
tornadoes.

WildCare’s
seven acres, just several miles south of Moore, did not escape the
storms unharmed; hail broke screens and windows, which resulted in a
loss of five birds.

As cleanup efforts continue across the metro, WildCare workers expect to receive more animals needing care and treatment.

For
example, Large said, chainsaws cutting tree limbs might disturb birds’
nests, while bulldozers are apt to unearth other animal habitats.

“Because of cleanup, we will still get tornado victims for the next several weeks and months,” she said.

Established
in 1984, WildCare takes in 4,500 animals each year. For more
information, call 872-9338 or visit wildcareoklahoma.org.

Hey! Read This:
Moore will be more: Dispatches from the May 20 tornado   

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Gina A. Dabney

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