AUSTIN (KXAN) — In the year to date, Central Texas nonprofit Austin Wildlife Rescue has taken in approximately 9,100 injured, sick or orphaned wildlife to aid and rehabilitate.
The wintertime tends to be its “slow season,” marked by fewer newborns out in the wild needing care. Despite that, the colder months typically come with an annual spike in increased medical needs, said Jules Maron, interim executive director at Austin Wildlife Rescue.
“I think part of the reason for that is we have juveniles that have left the parents now in the wild life,” she said. “They’re trying to fend for themselves and fall going into winter can be a very difficult time. Food is not as available, and you have these inexperienced animals that are now trying to go about and find food.”
Cases can range from lethargic, emaciated animals in need of treatment to those who’ve been hit by cars or stunned and injured by cold spells, she said. With the increased medical cases comes the need for intervention — including orthopedic surgeries and other forms of rehabilitation.
But it comes at a price. Maron said the nonprofit can easily spend about $75,000 a year on medical expenses to help cover the costs of surgeries and veterinarian treatment. That’s in addition to the more than $100,000 spent annually to cover food and supplies, she added.
“If that animal does not have medical intervention, they will die,” she said.
With Giving Tuesday on Nov. 28, Maron said the organization is aiming to raise about $70,000 to help cover the winter medical season, as well as prep for baby season, running from March through October. The nonprofit also has an Amazon Wishlist and a Chewy Wishlist available, and accepts physical donations like large bath towels, liquid laundry detergent and bleach for cleaning.
“We get so many thousands of animals coming through where their lives are literally in our hands,” she said. “We just feel like what we do really matters, and members of the community, I think, are also aware of how much the work we do matters — because there’s just so few resources or other organizations that can take on animals to that extent and to that number.”