Monday, August 4, 2014

Local wildlife rehabilitation habitat in need of donations

Posted By on Mon, Aug 4, 2014 at 2:16 PM


Dorothy Cooper has been helping injured critters at Kiwani Wambli Wildlife Rehabilitation Habitat, an hour north of Spokane in Cusick, Washington, since she opened it in 2003, but she's been working with domestic animals and wildlife as long as she can remember. But since a barn used to house injured wild animals collapsed under 15 feet of snow two years ago, Cooper is now struggling to find adequate space to take care of the small fur-bearing wild animals, deer, small birds and water fowl the nonprofit habitat assists. 

The aftermath of the winter storm that took down the habitat's barn two years ago. - COURTESY OF KIWANI WAMBLI WILDLIFE REHABILITATION HABITAT
  • Courtesy of Kiwani Wambli Wildlife Rehabilitation Habitat
  • The aftermath of the winter storm that took down the habitat's barn two years ago.
She says Kiwani Wambli — an American Indian phrase that means "awakening eagle" — received a grant to put up the shell for a new building, but the nonprofit still needs money to complete exterior construction, build the interior and furnish it with cages, an incubator and other equipment needed to care for the animals. To help with those costs, the habitat recently launched an Indiegogo campaign for $10,000, which runs through Aug. 29. To date, only $26 has been donated.

Kiwani Wambli takes in injured animals from within a 200-mile radius, and on average rehabilitates about 300 animals a year. It gets some in-kind support from local veterinarians in the area, but otherwise depends entirely on donations for supplies and the costs of animal care.

This year, the nonprofit has already seen 300 birds alone. Cooper says this is because three small bird rehabilitators in Spokane recently retired.

The amount of care that most of these animals require keeps Cooper quite busy. Babies without mothers especially demand a lot of attention, requiring feeding from between every 20 minutes to two hours, depending on the animal and age.

"We really depend on our volunteers. I really cannot thank them enough for their support," she says.

Cooper says that when people call the rehabilitation center about injured animals, many of them frequently help pay for gas, or meet her halfway to transport an animal. She recalls one time when a car full of kids emptied their piggybanks to help her bring an injured bird back to the habitat.
 
An injured squirrel being helped by the habitat. - COURTESY OF KIWANI WAMBLI WILDLIFE REHABILITATION HABITAT
  • Courtesy of Kiwani Wambli Wildlife Rehabilitation Habitat
  • An injured squirrel being helped by the habitat.

After so many years helping wild creatures, Cooper still finds it truly amazing how quickly the animals recover. She once had a baby hummingbird that could not even sit without falling over in its dish of syrup and couldn't open its mouth to eat, but somehow began hovering and flew away healthy within three weeks. 

"Ninety percent of the animals that we get have been affected by people," Cooper says, whether hit by a car, accidentally shot, attacked by a cat or dog, or have flown into a window.

"We have to do something to give back to them, and every bit helps."
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