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Sarvey Wildlife Center needs funds to stay open
ARLINGTON After having its biggest year ever, the staff and volunteers of the Sarvey Wildlife Center have reported that the wild animal rehabilitation clinic is on the verge of closing for good and dying for the lack for a few dollars, unless they can secure a sizable, steady and immediate influx of donations.
According to Sarvey Wildlife Center Clinic Director Sue McGowan, the annual budget for the four-acre clinic for injured and orphaned animals can cost approximately $200,000, even though only three of their seven staff members are full-time employees, since their mission requires expensive, specialized and even some relatively rare supplies to run.
Right now, we have approximately 200 animals on site, McGowan said. In the summer, that often goes up to about 300-400, but we had as many as 500 here at once, back in 2002. We take in 3,200-3,500 animals a year, from squirrels, songbirds, turkeys and deer to raccoons, bobcats, coyotes and bears, but weve already taken in close to 3,000 since January.
McGowan explained that the Sarvey Wildlife Center accepts some species of non-indigenous wild animals, including those which were brought into the state by humans or migrated here on their own, but elaborated that the clinic does not accept feral cats or feral rabbits, nor is it a wild animal shelter, since aside from a few birds of prey, all of the animals they take in and patch up are eventually intended to be returned the wild.
If we cant rehabilitate an animal, we have to euthanize it, McGowan said. We simply dont have the resources to serve as a shelter. At the same time, we will always give each animal a fighting chance to recover. If theres even the slightest doubt as to whether or not they might make it, well work with them and do what we can.
Part of the reason why the Sarvey Wildlife Center cant become a permanent home to these animals is because of the constant influx of new animals in need of care. The clinics ambulance driver can log in an average of nearly 430 miles a day, responding to calls from area residents who have either sighted orphaned or injured wildlife, or else attempted to capture it themselves.
McGowan estimated that the Sarvey Wildlife Center currently boasts a volunteer crew of approximately 50, noting that this number represents a typical decrease from the more than 100 volunteers who are usually available during the summer months, when more people tend to be free from work and school schedules to spare their time. Although she acknowledged that many of these volunteers are high school and college students, she added that their volunteers have come from all walks of life, from housewives and nurses to veterinarians and police officers.
The pro bono work done for the Sarvey Wildlife Center by three such veterinarians is one reason why medical supplies are only the second-costliest part of the clinics budget. Food is the most expensive part of the budget, especially since so many of the items on each species menu, from dead rats to beef heart, are difficult to donate.
McGowan had previously hoped to expand their medical supplies enough to perform animal surgeries at the clinic, which would require having an X-ray machine and an autoclave to sterilize surgical instruments on site. However, since the clinic runs a $907-per-month electric bill, every month of the year, and theyre still struggling to pay off their expenses for the month of September, even the cost of producing a regular newsletter has proven relatively exorbitant.
I had to charge $2,000 onto my credit card, just to put one out, said Sarvey Wildlife Center Director Kaye Baxter. All our produce is donated by Safeway, all our salmon is donated by the Stillaguamish Hatchery, after their brood-stock has spawned, and all of our staff members are dedicated people who work with little to no compensation. Were very frugal, and yet, weve reached our limit on taking in any more animals which has never happened before.
Baxter added that we thank you all for your support in the past, but we have to ask for your financial assistance to continue, because without you, there is no Sarvey Wildlife Center.