WRANPS Needs New Home

The group known for helping orphaned and injured animals needs some help itself.

The Wildlife Rehabilitation and Nature Preservation Society is looking for new space and more volunteers.

A baby squirrel is among the hundreds of animals WRANPS will try and nurse back to health this year. It's been a busy year for animal rehab.

"So far, we've admitted 14 hundred animals, which is about as many as we admitted last year," said director, Katy Pope.

A gopher tortoise is among the current animals recovering at WRANPS. A visit to the aviary finds a pelican ruling the roost, along with various gulls and other birds in recovery.

WRANPS leases its three acre headquarters from USM. Since the university has other plans for the property, WRANPS is searching for a new site.

"We're looking for a place with a minimum of ten acres, centrally located so our coastal volunteers can drop off animals and for volunteers. And that's somewhat secluded because in what we do it's very important the animals have a nice resting, quiet place where they can heal," Pope explained.

Lee Ann Freeman is one of the "home volunteers" that helps WRANPS,'

"I've been with WRANPS probably for about 15 years now. And I've always had such a love for animals. I started rehabbing raccoons to begin with," she said.

Freeman is affectionately known as "the deer lady". She cares for the fawns at her Forrest County home.

Too often, well meaning folks mistakenly think a doe has abandoned its baby.

"The majority of what we get in are people who are out and about in the woods or they might be four wheeling and they'll come upon this deer fawn and they'll think it's abandoned, the mother's not around. The mother is around. The mother knows where the baby is, where she's left the baby," Freeman explained.

She feeds the fawns, nursing them back to health. She's careful not to get too attached. Her goal and the mission of WRANPS is to return these animals to the wild, where they belong.

If you're interested in becoming a volunteer, WRANPS is hosting a volunteer orientation workshop this weekend.

The workshop will be held at WRANPS headquarters on Woodland Way Road in Pass Christian. It begins Sunday afternoon at 2:30pm.

For more information, you can reach WRANPS by calling (228) 452-WILD (9453)