Local wildlife rehabilitator called to help in Gulf Coast crisis - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock


Local wildlife rehabilitator called to help in Gulf Coast crisis


By Tiffany Pelt - email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) –With the Gulf Coast oil crisis threatening the livelihood of many birds, turtles and other animals, some of the South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center's volunteers have been called to go help.

"I have been contacted twice by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department to go to Port Arthur which will be the command post for Texas, but so far the oil hasn't come into here," said Gail Barnes, licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

Saturday, during the Rehabilitation Center's open house, Barnes carried around her Gray Horn Owl telling community members what it's like to help save animals. Barnes said she's already had to deal with birds covered in oil that come in from Odessa and Midland.  

"It's not much fun to bathe a wild bird, usually takes several of us. We use gloves so we won't get footed by the bird because they do have talons. We bathe them in dawn and the temperature has to be a certain temperature about 96 degrees to get the oil off," said Barnes.

But sometimes, it's too late.

"If it's all over their body, if it's gotten in their eyes or in their mouth, then it can be toxic," she said.

Right now Barnes is taking care of 19 gray horn owl chicks, and 13 barn owl chicks, leaving little time to travel to the coast.

"My first commitment is to the birds of the South Plains and the wildlife of the South Plains," said Barnes.

Once Barnes has available time and her chicks are older, she said she would love to go help animals down at the Gulf Coast.

"It would be a bitter sweet experience. It would be very sad but it would be rewarding for the birds you could help," said Barnes.

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