March 5, 2013
How Your Unwanted Fur Can Help Wildlife
Pass on your old fur items to a wildlife rehabilitator to warm and comfort orphaned and injured wildlife
The Humane Society of the United States is no longer collecting fur garments for distribution to wildlife rehabilitators. However, the resale retailer Buffalo Exchange will be doing a limited collection of furs. For more information visit coatsforcubs.com.
You may also wish to contact wildlife rehabilitators in your area to see if they can use your fur garment. If you don't find a rehabber, try asking your local animal shelter if they have a contact, or search under “wildlife rehabilitator” on the Internet.
Do you have an old fur coat in your closet? Is your grandmother's mink stole stored in the attic? Many of us have fur apparel that we no longer want or that was left to us by a family member. Some aren't comfortable selling it or giving it to charity, because they feel people should not wear animal fur. And storing, cleaning, and remodeling old fur coats are highly profitable services for furriers and helps keep them in the fur business. So what should people do with it?
Give it back to the animals. If you would like to see that old fur put to a good use, look for a wildlife rehabilitator in your area who will use it to aid and comfort wildlife.
How do the furs help wildlife?
Fur can provide warmth and comfort to orphaned and injured wild animals. Wildlife rehabilitators will usually cut the fur into an appropriate size for the animal, whether it be a bobcat, fox, raccoon, squirrel, or rabbit, and place it inside the animal's enclosure. The furry blanket becomes a surrogate mother to orphaned animals, reducing stress and giving comfort.
One rehabilitator related a story about a restless orphaned river otter who chirped constantly. Once she was given a fur blanket, she settled right down. Turning the sleeve of a fur coat inside out, a rehabilitator can also create a warm nest for a burrowing animal such as an opossum. Some animals adopt a piece of fur as a playmate, jumping on it and wrestling with it.
How do I give?
You can mail your fur(s) directly to a wildlife rehabilitator on our list of rehabbers who use fur to comfort the animals in their care. If you would like to find other, more local wildlife rehabilitators, you can search at wildliferehabber.org. It’s a good idea to call those who are not on our list in advance and see if they will use your furs, and find the best way of donating it.
Other charities that may accept furs are homeless shelters and animal shelters or sanctuaries who care for mammals. Always ask them before you bring or mail your fur to them, in case they can't use it. Fur donations to charities may be tax-deductible, and you may wish to ask for an acknowledgement letter that you could possibly use for tax purposes.
In addition, through Earth Day on Monday, April 22, 2013, Buffalo Exchange resale clothing stores are holding a Coats for Cubs fur drive nationwide in 17 states. See buffaloexchange.com for your nearest location (there are 47 participating stores) or call toll-free 1-866-235-8255. Let them know it’s a gift for Coats for Cubs.
Rehabilitators who use fur will usually accept only real fur apparel, fur trims, and fur accessories (such as hats, gloves, and muffs), and shearling.