“And have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:28b)
The news informs us about the impact of disasters on the people in the path of hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and fires. First responders arrive immediately to rescue people and their pets. Communities come together to start dealing with the resulting destruction. But humans aren’t the only creatures affected. Wildlife suffers terribly in a disaster and resources to assist them are few and far between.
Wildlife Center of Texas
However, there are animal lovers who go to great lengths to take in stranded animals. Staff and volunteers do what they can to restore the animals to health, and release them back into some suitable natural habitat. The Wildlife Center of Texas, for example, recently released eight beautiful brown pelicans into the Galveston Bay. The Center had tended to them for nearly a month after Hurricane Harvey. Some got caught in left-behind fishing lines and were severely stressed. Others were sick from exposure to all the toxic water left behind in the floods.
Creatures like these amazing birds, and hundreds of other species, suffer not only from natural disasters, but also from human negligence and complacency about the needs of nature. Loss of habitat from new developments, polluted water and air, trash dumped and left to liter what little habitat the creatures have left – all these factors contribute to an on-going crisis for wildlife.
We’re All in This Together
Caring for and about wildlife isn’t just for the nature lovers among us. We humans are dependent on wildlife more than we generally realize, and not just for food and outdoor enjoyment. Though we may not understand how, every creature has a role to play in the ever-evolving drama of life on earth. While I personally can’t garner much appreciation for mosquitoes or fire ants, I accept that other creatures depend on them for their own well-being. It’s all connected. A bee sting hurts, but when we run out of bees to pollinate plants, we run out of many sources of food.
I wonder if we’d ever have thought we could leave the earth in planes, and now space craft, if our ancestors hadn’t observed birds in flight and studied how they manage that.
Animals often sense approaching storms long before humans become aware of them. What an animal lacks in ability to use speech it more than makes up for in a superior sense of smell and hearing.
Partnering with Wildlife
The Wildlife Center of Texas cares for around 10,000 wild animals every year. Equally important, they educate over 50,000 humans of all ages about wildlife, conservation efforts, and why we are dependent on the environment for our own well being. Executive Director Sharon Schmalz and her staff manage this non-profit (501c3 – donations are tax deductible) organization. They handle rehabilitation for injured, sick, orphaned and displaced wildlife species native to Texas. Founded in 1992, the Center became a subsidiary of the Houston area SPCA in 2007.
To the Rescue
Because of their experience and reputation for assisting wildlife in distress, it was only natural that the Center would be involved in rescuing brown pelicans. They also rescued nearly 500 other creatures including hawks, raccoons, owls, baby squirrels, and others. Just like the hundreds of human inhabitants of the greater Houston area, these creatures had their homes washed away by Hurricane Harvey. Just like humans, they needed rescue, relief, and eventually help returning to more normal days.
To learn more about the Wildlife Center of Houston go to this link:
To read the full story about the brown pelican release go to this link to the Houston Chronicle.