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August 26, 2011

As Irene Approaches, the Cape Widlife Center Battens Down Hatches

Staff urge you to plan ahead and be safe when rescuing wildlife during a storm

  • While the sun still shines, the Cape Wildlife Center is gathering everything neccessary to relocate its patients at a moment's notice. Heather Fone

  • There will be a safe place inside for everybody if Hurricane Irene hits near the Cape Wildlife Center. Heather Fone

As Hurricane Irene heads north, the Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable, Mass., operated by The Humane Society of the United States and The Fund for Animals, is safeguarding the wildlife rehabilitation hospital to protect the facility and its wild patients against potential high winds, heavy rainfall and flooding. 

“Our team is securing the 4.5-acre campus before high winds arrive this weekend,” said Theresa Barbo, director of the Cape Wildlife Center. “Our emergency management plans include plywood on windows, ensuring the backup generator and pumps are in working order, and that we have plenty of food and water on hand for humans and our animal patients.”

Make a disaster plan for yourself and your pets

The Cape Wildlife Center is open every day of the year from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to care for sick, injured and orphaned wildlife; in 2010, more than 1,400 wild animals representing 135 native wildlife species were treated at its clinic. 

All wild patients, from songbirds to seabirds and hawks to raccoons, will be transported from outside enclosures to our new state-of-the-art recovery ward inside the facility. Staff will ensure the safety of the wild patients during Hurricane Irene while they rehabilitate from injuries before their return to the wild.

Dr. Roberto Aguilar, medical director of the Cape Wildlife Center who treated animals in the wake of several Louisiana hurricanes, offers the following tips for Cape residents concerned about wildlife during the storm:

  • Do not leave your house if conditions are unsafe, even if you see an animal in distress. You will not be able to help the animal if you get hurt, too.
  • Call the Cape Wildlife Center, police or animal control officers for help with any distressed wildlife before attempting to help the animal yourself.
  • If you cannot reach authorities or the center, approach the animal cautiously and wear protective gloves. If you are able to move the animal into a dry, dark and quiet place (a cardboard or plastic box with ventilation) the animal will feel secure until you are able to take him or her to the center. Animals do not need food or water at this time, unless they are very young.
  • Don’t try giving any medicine to distressed animals. The less the animal sees or hears, the better off it will be.
  • Although there are not many chicks out during this time of the year, chicks found abandoned in the wild should be taken to the center as soon as possible.
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