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January 3, 2014

Winter Storm Hercules Threatens New England Wildlife

Local wildlife center offers tips for rescuing injured wildlife

One of New England’s largest wildlife rehabilitation centers proactively worked to protect its patients during the first major snowstorm of 2014. Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable, operated by The Fund for Animals, is a leader in rehabilitating endangered and threatened New England species, and offers tips for rescuing injured wildlife during harsh winters.

Common storm-related injuries to wildlife include frostbite, ruptured air sacs and trauma when birds are struck by cars or blown into buildings and stranding.

Deborah Millman, director of Cape Wildlife Center said: “Fortunately, compassionate people often rescue injured animals and bring them in to us for care. Although these lifesaving efforts are crucial, it is also critical that rescuers take precautions to protect themselves while helping wildlife.”

Nor’easters and other major winter storms frequently bring a wave of admissions to Cape Wildlife Center. Last year, Superstorm Nemo plunged the Center into darkness and cold for four days due to power loss, and brought dozens of injured patients requiring urgent care. The staff is gearing up for a similar influx of patients.

Here are tips for rescuing native wildlife:

  • Always use caution when rescuing wildlife. The animals are likely to view you as a threat and could take defensive action.
  • Wear gloves to protect your hands and to reduce the chance of injury.
  • When rescuing birds, wear glasses or other protective eyewear.
  • Place injured wildlife in a box or basket for transport. Birds may also be gently wrapped in a towel, burrito-style, to keep them secure for transport.
  • Call animal control officers if you need assistance. Many are willing to assist with capture and transport.
  • If it is after hours and your local rehabilitation center is closed, please do not leave rescued wildlife outside! Animals can quickly freeze to death in cold weather. Contact the closest emergency veterinary clinic for help, or place the injured animal in a covered box or basket in an inside area away from pets and people until you can transport the animal to a rescue center.
  • For more information about Cape Wildlife Center, visit www.fundforanimals.org/cape

Media Contact: Samantha Miller, 301-258-1417, smiller@humanesociety.org

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