Environmental Club holds wildlife rehabilitation talk

Destiny Hosmer

Staff Writer

Troy University’s Environmental Club hosted a presentation from the Big Bend Wildlife Rehabilitation Center on Tuesday.

The Big Bend Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is a nonprofit organization, based in Enterprise, dedicated to the care of orphaned, sick, abandoned and injured wildlife, and to the education of people and how to live cohesively with wildlife.

Terry and John Morse, wildlife rehabilitators at Big Bend, brought five birds to show the audience. They gave a presentation discussing various dangers to wildlife as well as their own experiences with rehabilitating animals.

Terry Morse warned pet owners to be responsible for their pets and not allow them to disturb or injure wildlife.

“Domestic and feral cats are the top threat to U.S. wildlife,” Morse said. “Cats kill between 6.3 and 22.3 billion small mammals and reptiles each year.”

Terry said that dogs often catch and injure animals that they do not need for food, and they frequently destroy ground nests.

In addition to other animals, human cruelty and ignorance can prove to be fatal for wildlife as well.

“Humans fear what they don’t understand,” Terry said.

Contrary to popular belief, possums very seldom carry rabies. Big Bend has cared for possums in the past that have been mutilated by humans who feared the diseases they believed they carried.

“I definitely thought that possums carried rabies,” said Emily Call, a sophomore political science major from Rolla, Missouri. “Now that I’ve learned differently, I want to spread that information.

“I was shocked to hear about how often human cruelty resulted in the injury and death of wildlife.”

According to Terry, secondhand poisoning can be a threat when pesticides are used on bugs that are later consumed by birds. Even seemingly harmless ways of ridding homes of pests, such as sticky fly strips, can catch small birds and bats as well.

“I didn’t know about secondhand poisoning; I had no idea that it was possible,” said Mikala Chenault, a sophomore hospitality and tourism major from Keizer, Oregon.

With spring break approaching, Big Bend is expecting to care for a large number of orphaned and injured baby animals. They urge those who are interested to volunteer.

No background experience is needed to become a volunteer. Big Bend holds training days where volunteers learn how to work with animals.

Volunteers can choose what they want to do, whether that be cleaning, mowing the grass, or working one-on-one with the animals. Those who are interested can call 334-447-8110.

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