Giving wildlife a helping hand: A new rehabilitation center

Giving wildlife a helping hand: A new rehabilitation center
(Source: KFDA)
(Source: KFDA)
(Source: KFDA)
(Source: KFDA)
Vivien Young, Executive Director of the Wildcat Bluff Nature Center
Vivien Young, Executive Director of the Wildcat Bluff Nature Center
Stephanie Oravetz, Founder of Wild West Wildlife Rehabilition
Stephanie Oravetz, Founder of Wild West Wildlife Rehabilition

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - A new wildlife rehabilitation center is coming to Amarillo.

Wildcat Bluff Nature Center and Stephanie Oravetz of Wild West Wildlife Rehabilitation are working together to help save more of of the area wildlife population by converting a donated double-wide trailer into a wildlife rehabilitation center just down the road from Wildcat Bluff.

Wildcat Bluff officials say the organization has dreamed of opening a rehabilitation center since it first opened its doors.

Now that they've joined forces with Oravetz, those dreams are coming true.

"Well, the original vision for Wildcat Bluff Nature Center included doing wildlife rehabilitation," Executive Director Vivien Young said. "That had kind of gone by the wayside over the years, so when we connected with Oravetz of Wild West Wildlife Rehabilitation, and when we put her in communication with Mary Emeny, who owned the trailer, it was one of those matches made in heaven. It enables us to return to our original purpose."

The new center will help all different types of animals such as squirrels, skunks, raccoon, coyotes, and birds.

But, before they can open for business they will be renovating the trailer.

"She's an older building and she needs a lot of work, but her bones are strong and she survived all these storms and nothing has happened to her other than some cosmetic stuff, which we can work on," Oravetz, said.

They will be restoring the building with the help of some local volunteers.

Oravetz said they will tear down the walls, replace insulation, redo the flooring, fix the ceilings, and much more. When the renovation is finished, the trailer will have nine rooms consisting of drop off area where people can bring injured animals and other rooms to house small mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians and more.

Young said animals can be dropped off at the rehabilitation center or residents can call Wild Bluff (806-352-6007) or Wild West Wildlife (806-680-2483) and have staff pick the animals up themselves.

Oravetz said the center is a great need for the area because of our huge wildlife population. Within the past five months she has rehabilitated over 200 animals.

Wildcat Bluff is hoping to have the rehabilitation center ready before summer.

"We want it done as soon as possible because we're not even in the busy time of the season," Oravetz said, "We've got 26 opossums in care, we've had 31 cottontails, 17 squirrels, we have several owls, so we're going to need a location because then we can start getting volunteers and that can help us with the feedings and things like that. It's a wonderful to teach others and pass along what we've learned."

Oravetz said most people who rehabilitate small animals work out of their homes, so having a space like this will allow them to help more animals.

The new center will only be for rehabilitation and drop off, but if animals cannot be released back into the wild they will be used for educational purposes at Wildcat Bluff.

"Of course we love rehabilitating and getting them back out in the wild, that's always 100 percent our goal," Oravetz said. "The release is so important to us, but education is important because learning to coexist with your wildlife [is important]. I always try and tell people, 'Remember, they were here first' a lot of the time people call them a nuisance, but we're actually the nuisance. We come here and we wreck their homes and then they get in our stuff, but we've destroyed their habitats and so their looking to us for food now. But we love it when we can educate the public so that they look at wildlife different and instead of harming they want to help."

Young hopes the center will allow more people to help save our wildlife population.

"We hope it provides our local area with a place where wildlife can be taken care of if it gets into trouble, and it usually gets into trouble largely because of humanity's intervention," Young said.

If you would like to volunteer on April 23 visit the Wildcat Bluff Nature Center's website for more information.

The renovation will begin at 10 a.m. Small children will be able to enjoy a presentation by the Animals of the High Plains.

If you can't volunteer your time, Young said they are in need of supplies for the renovation.

They are asking for any donations such as gift cards to Home Depot or Lowe's and R-19 board foam insulation. They said you can also donate money on their website, which is a tax deductible.

For more information about supplies needed or about volunteering call the center at 806-352-6007.

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