Wildlife Requires Special Attention During Cold Weather - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/12/04

Wildlife Requires Special Attention During Cold Weather

Debbie Tennison manages the Wildlife Rehab Center, caring for hundreds of animals each day. And when temperatures drop below freezing she works overtime to keep her furry friends warm and dry. "With the bad weather volunteers don't want to get out and I can't blame them so we're running on a skeleton crew today," says Tennison.

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From the ferocious to the fragile, the center is overrun with animals of all kinds. Debbie keeps a close eye on each one, making sure they're fed and resting comfortably inside. "The pelican doesn't like to go outside when it's cold outside. He gets to shivering in about 2 minutes so he's having to stay in cramped quarters," says Tennison.

For other animals, it's medical conditions keeping them cooped up. "Our older raven has arthritis and the cold weather only aggravates that so he has to be kept in good temperatures so that his arthritis doesn't act up."

Early spring arrivals like a new born squirrel would not survive the cold without Debbie's help. "There may be many more out there that aren't going to get the care they need," says Tennison.

Other animals are naturally equipped for the cold. "He doesn't seem to mind. He's got a real think fur coat," says Tennison.

For the animals that can stay outside the weather can pose a new set of problems. The temperatures are so low that their water dishes can freeze very quickly. Volunteers have to run water to Bobby the bobcat every hour or so.

On cold days the endless cycle of feeding, and watering animals becomes more crucial than ever. "We try to do it several times a day so that we're sure that they're getting enough nutrition to keep them warm," says Tennison.

With cold temperatures continuing through Friday, Debbie's work has only begun. If you find an injured animal you can drop it by the South Plains Wildlife Rehab center located at 95th and Indiana.

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