WRANPS In Desperate Need of Funds

A rehabilitation center for injured and orphaned animals is asking for your help.

Officials at the Wildlife Rehabilitation and Nature Preservation Society in Harrison County  say they are in a financial crisis and only have enough funds to see them through the end of the month.

WRANPS didn't receive the grant money it depends on to help pay operating costs, so officials say they are more dependent on membership fees. About 1,500 injured and orphaned animals that end up there each year. Officials say without the proper care many of the animals wouldn't survive.

"We give the long term supportive care, and sometimes it's months before we can release a wild animal back," WRANPS volunteer Dianne Hunt said. "So day to day care is very critical."

WRANPS officials say the costs of specialized diets, medicine, and housing can quickly add up, especially during the spring and summer months when they are swamped with orphaned animals. For instance birds cost anywhere from $50 to several hundred dollars to rehabilitate. Unfortunately, while the costs are rising the funding has been decreasing.

"It's looking pretty grim," WRANPS director Katy Pope said. "Unfortunately, memberships are down and our costs for food and operating costs have increased significantly."

WRANPS has launched a major membership drive in hopes of raising the money it needs to keep operating. The last thing WRANPS wants to do is turn away sick and injured animals.

"We may have to close our doors, but we don't intend to do that," Hunt said. "We've always somehow gotten through with the public support. They always rallied for us and come through."

The cost for membership into WRANPS is $25 per family. The center is also asking for $500 corporate sponsorships. For more information you can call 452-WILD.

by Danielle Thomas