Fireworks cause wildlife rehab centers to fill up

KING 5's Alison Morrow visited a wildlife rehab and care center where staff is preparing for scared animals on the 4th of July.

Whether they're vaccinating orphaned raccoons or giving orphaned fawns a place to grow up, Sarvey Wildlife Care Center knows even the smallest human disruption makes a big impact on animals.

That's why a flock of juvenile geese aren't going back to the wild until after the July Fourth holiday.

"I worry that the fireworks, the noise, the lights, the people would scare the adults away. Maybe the babies would get lost. Maybe they'd go into traffic. They could get hurt. They could get injured. We never do releases before the Fourth of July. We always wait until after," said Sarvey Manager Jessie Paolello.

The orphaned juvenile geese are ready to return to nature, she says, but their schedule doesn't fit with our calendar. Sarvey stopped releasing animals last weekend and won't start up again until July 8 or 9. They expect an influx of wildlife impacted by fireworks as early as this weekend.

"We've had everything from mallards stuck in a fence trying to run away from fireworks. We got several Steller's jays that had been displaced from their nest and abandoned by their parents. Other birds will hit things and fly into trees. They become very disoriented. The amount of explosions and chaos and the smoke and everything, they're not sure what's going on. It's a very scary situation especially for the babies," said Sarvey Director Suzanne West.

West remembers taking a baby bald eagle last year, abandoned by its parents because of fireworks.

"This baby came out of the nest and it just disrupted the entire process. The parents stopped feeding the baby. The baby was on the ground," she said.

The same thing happens with juvenile owls and young hummingbirds and baby ducks – they end up at Sarvey around the same time none of the current residents can leave.

"These guys are all ready for release, but once again we're waiting 'til after the Fourth of July to release them," Paolello said about a group of opossums. 

It makes for a crowded facility with a lot of scared wildlife, and the animals are already challenging, especially those living at Sarvey during the holiday.

"They actually shake," Paolello said. "There's explosions going on all over the place. They won't eat. They won't drink. They're hiding in the corners of their cages."

© 2017 KING-TV


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