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Wildlife rescue groups: Growing number of animals need aid

GAUTIER — Recent storms that battered southern Mississippi have been hard on wildlife as well as humans — and some volunteers have been stepping up to help.

The Sun Herald reports a large number of birds came in to the Wildlife Care and Rescue Center in Jackson County the past few weeks as storms damaged the trees they lived in.

For years the center has seen an increasing number of animals needing help. Each year the center takes in 400-500 birds, owls, squirrels, deer and skunks.

“A lot of these animals have lost so much of their vital resources and so they are learning to become urban dwellers and learning to live in much closer proximity to people,” Alison Sharpe, the center’s director, said. “When that happens you end up having problems.

Following storms, that number of wild animals needing care grows even more.

The storms at the beginning of this year happened just as baby owls were in their nests. Within two weeks the center took in 11 young owls, most just a few weeks old.

On Sunday Sharpe walked a group of about 20 new and experienced volunteers through the best ways to hold, feed, medicate, and house wildlife.

For the first time, a newer wildlife organization, Gulf Coast Wild Rehab, asked to sit in on the training with its own volunteers.

Trish Stiles, the director of the rehab organization, said the session was a good way for her, and her volunteers, to learn from someone more experience.

Stiles’ organization, which opened in 2013, takes any mammals, though they usually hand birds off to Sharp’s group.



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