GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – If helping care for more than 500 animals in two weeks sounds like a lot, you’re right! That’s exactly what the staff at Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary has been dealing with since the beginning of May.
“(I brought in) a little baby bunny. There was a bird, and I suspect I took his dinner away,” said Susan Bemis. She drove from Sheboygan to the wildlife sanctuary on Tuesday morning to drop off a small Cottontail bunny.
“In the last two weeks, we’ve taken in 550 animals,” said Lori Bankson, an animal curator. She calls the influx of animals the “perfect storm.”
“With this delayed spring, and with the beautiful weather, people are outside enjoying and animals are at an age, especially squirrels and birds, that they’re following mom and sometimes getting separated,” added Bankson.
The sanctuary takes in about 6,000 animals a year, on average, so to have more than 500 in a two-week period is definitely abnormal, Bankson said.
“To have just that quick amount in a short period of time for us has been pretty overwhelming at times, but our staff and our volunteers have been great,” Bankson told Local 5’s Barrett Tryon.
If you come across an animal that needs help, Bankson suggests you give them a call. They can better help assess a situation.
“It’s better with young ones, especially, if they can stay with mom, that’s our ultimate goal,” said Bankson. “She does a better job than anybody can.”
The sanctuary also reminds people to not feed animals they find. If anything, it’s safe to give them a few drops of water to be hydrated.
As for Bemis, she’s just glad the bunny got a second chance at life.
“The bird can eat another bunny,” Bemis joked. “Just not around me.”
Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary runs entirely on donations. It said it is always looking for bleach and baby blankets. More details on donations can be found online.
The wildlife sanctuary also has a program called R-PAWS. It allows volunteers to help nurture animals back to health in their own homes. You can find out more about that program here.