Animal rehabilitation center treating more birds, small mammals as temperatures rise

Hundreds of animals treated at rehab center

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - High temperatures and little rain are not only taking its toll on the human population around the area but the animals as well.

Lately, the South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center has seen an increase in animals taken to the facility. People are finding small birds and mammals on sidewalks or streets and taking them to the facility to make sure they are taken care of.

"We're working as hard as we can to give them fluids, get them hydrated, and feed them to get them up and going again," Gail Barnes, executive director of SPWRC, said. "Our drop-off building is open 24 hours a day for the convenience of the public."

The rehabilitation center is located at 3308 95th St. and is open during daylight hours all year, according to its website. The staff works mostly on a volunteer basis and has only one paid employee working to keep up with the demands of the animals.

This year, however, does mirror a drought year the center worked through in the past, Barnes said. From 2010 to 2011 the center took in more than 3,500 animals; now nearly halfway into the year officials have counted more than 1,000 animals.

"The way it's going, we're going to be getting in a lot of the insectivore birds – the barn swallows, the cliff swallows, the Mississippi kites," Barnes said. "They depend on insects and we're not going to be having any insects so they're all going to be coming in because of the drought."

People are encouraged to leave out water for small birds and mammals, she said, and are also discouraged to feed them. However, leaving birdseed out does not do much harm.

For those who have questions about what to do with certain animals are welcomed to call at 806-799-2142 and get information.

Donations are always welcome and volunteers are usually needed because of how labor-intensive taking care of the animals is. Information for donations and volunteers can be found on SPWRC's website here.

"People don't realize it's very labor-intensive, the feedings and the diets, and the times that (the animals) have to eat," Barnes said. "And if they get off schedule feeding that means we have to stay here a lot later at night, and we're just volunteers."

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