Lafayette, Lyons Wildlife Rehab Centers Get First Grants for Service from CPW
To contact the organizations
If you find an injured bird or rabbit, you should call the organizations first to see if they need rehabilitation. You also can donate to either organization, both of which run solely on private donations and grants.
Colorado Wild Rabbit Foundation
Send donations to: Colorado Wild Rabbit Foundation, PO Box 1253, Erie, CO 80516
Colorado Native Bird Care and Conservation
Donate at coloradonativebird.org/donate
As many as one billion birds in the United States die every year after colliding with glass, according to the American Bird Conservancy.
Donna Nespoli helps many of the birds in Colorado who collide with glass live at the nonprofit, volunteer-run Colorado Native Bird Care and Conservation in Lyons. She takes in up to 250 wild birds each year for rehabilitation. Most, she said, end up at her nonprofit after getting caught in some kind of animal-human conflict.
Some get hurt by a pet cat or dog, some fly into windows because they can’t see the glass, and some get hit by cars.
The number of wildlife deaths or injury caused by humans is a “huge, monumental figure,” Nespoli said. “We’re trying to do what we can to save a few hundred.”
Nespoli’s mission was just made a bit easier with a $2,184 grant from Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Her nonprofit was a winner in the first round of wildlife rehabilitation grants offered to rehabilitation centers across the state, according to a news release from Parks and Wildlife.
Legislation enacted in 2017 sets aside 10 percent of up to $250,000 of the funds raised through the nongame tax check-off program and fines from nongame wildlife-based offenses for the grants. Residents can donate to the program on their state income tax form 104A as part of Checkoff Colorado .
For its first year, Parks and Wildlife received $83,000 in requests but had only $17,000 in funding. It awarded a total $16,684 to eight wildlife rehabilitation centers across the state.
“There’s a big need out there. A lot of these rehabbers run on shoestring budgets,” grants administrator Jim Guthrie stated in the news release.
Gabriele Paul, director of the Colorado Wild Rabbit Foundation in Lafayette, said those who run that organization often use their own personal funds to pay for expenses associated with helping up to 800 rabbits each year.
The grant of $1,000 they received will go toward paying medical bills and costs for diagnostic testing, some of the highest costs for the rabbit foundation, which researches cottontail diseases in addition to providing care.
Paul wrote in an email that she believes wildlife rehabilitation is an ethics issue.
“By far the most common reasons wild rabbits need rehabilitation are due to human activities, so we believe it is an ethical obligation to try to help these animals,” she said. ”(...) The public very much wants to help these animals and there is more demand for our services than we can sometimes meet. As humans encroach more and more into wildlife habitat, the need for wildlife rehabilitation services will increase.”
Both the rabbit and bird rehabilitation sites treat medical issues and raise orphaned offspring. For Nespoli, orphaned baby birds require feedings every 15 minutes for 16 hours each day. This year, she’s taking a break from this service, which she’s provided since the nonprofit started in 2013.
The organizations also educate the public, which Nespoli said is an important part of why wildlife rehabilitation organizations “should be valued and supported.”
After getting a degree in zoology from Colorado State University, Nespoli decided to work in wildlife rehabilitation to give back to wildlife.
“The need is so great,” she said. The bird care and conservation organization helps injured birds and bats, and provides hibernation services to bats.
Madeline St. Amour: 303-684-5212, email@example.com