|My name is Birgit Sommer. I am a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for the State of Texas, director of the Rainbow Wildlife Rescue in Stephenville, TX , as well as the vice president and foster parent for the Erath County Humane Society.|
I, like many other licensed wildlife rehabilitators, work out of my own home and volunteer my time and just about every spare cent I can gather towards animal rescue efforts and public education.
No local or state funding is available for animal caging, veterinary care, medicine and food. That's why most rehabilitators gratefully accept donations towards the care of animals they receive from the public.
Birgit Sommer releases a raccoon back into the wild.
Over 220 animals made it through the Rainbow Wildlife Rescue in 2009. Unfortunately I had to turn at least 5 times as many away, which will hopefully change next year. More than 80% of the critters survived and were either released back into the wild or transferred to other facilities!
We had a beaver, a few reptiles such as turtles and snakes, our share of cottontail rabbits, over 40 opossums, 11 raccoons, about 50 squirrels, nearly 70 birds, and not to forget the foster care for the Erath County Humane Society animal shelter counting 17 puppies and 43 kittens. I had a LOT of help with the kittens and the squirrels. Thank you Loree B.!
Eight newspaper articles have been published about or by the Rainbow Wildlife Rescue in the Empire Tribune and the Abilene Reporter.
The first sub-permittee/trainee will be added to my state wildlife rehabilitation permit and a board of directors is in the process of being put together.
Plans for next year include focus on education, training more future wildlife rehabilitators, extending the rescue, getting the community involved and hopefully being able to help more animals than this year.
This fall, I was voted vice president of the Erath County Humane Society. There are also big plans for 2010 that will hopefully include a new animal shelter which is attractive and convenient to the community as well as providing us with the means to save the lives of more animals.
I also hope to see plans for the already discussed Stephenville Dog Park finalized.
For more detailed updates, links to photos, movies and stories, please continue reading below.
A LOT! To give you an idea, the Rainbow Wildlife Rescue went through over 50 lbs of Esbilac and KMR milk replacers, that's close to $3000 alone.
We spent a lot more on medical supplies, bottles, cleaning supplies, caging, bedding, canned food, dried feed, meat and fresh produce, live food, repairs, maintenance, and not to forget the utility bills that are 3 times as high than average when the rescue is full. The washing machine and dryer are always running and probably have to be replaced next year. The same goes for the 20 year old hot water heater which is making scary noises.
Everything put together we spent at least $10 000 on the animals this year.
About 30% of the cost were covered by donations and online fundraisers. A HUGE THANK YOU to everybody that had the heart and means to support our efforts!
The remaining 70% I earned with online jobs such as web design and hosting, site maintenance, translations, article writing, graphic design, etc.
It was rough. So this year I'm hoping to start early with the fundraising and prepare!
We need to raise about $5000 before baby season starts coming spring 2010. The first orphaned squirrels usually arrive mid February. By then I would like to have the MILKREPLACER FUND covered, which is the most important item on my list. I have planned to switch to Fox Valley this year due to a lot of controversy this year over KMR and Esbilac.
There are a few different ways you can donate.
Paypal (accepts credit cards)
The following are a few examples of how your donation can help:
PAYPAL for MEDICAL or MILK REPLACER FUND
Here is a collection of blog entries, links to youtube movies and newspaper articles related to the Rainbow Wildlife Rescue and Erath County Humane Society:
Some folks find the idea of wildlife rehabilitation ridiculous or claim it's "messing with nature". These folks neglect to see that most wildlife related calls that require our human intervention ARE the direct result of unnatural conditions such as careless behavior of people, toxins, poisons, automobiles, guns, traps, lawn mowers, to name just a few.
Often we are confronted with animals that have suffered traumatic wounds and horrific injuries. Some animals come in poisoned, shot, injured by cars and left for dead by humans. The stories and cases are endless and heartbreaking.
We also have to deal with ignorant folks that are proud of doing all the wrong things and are trying to educate everybody that listens. We have to comfort the crying children and their thankful moms for having found somebody to take the critter to instead of having their kids to watch it die.