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Heat taking toll on wildlife, too

Ashley Barthel an intern Fox Valley Wildlife Center feeds birds Tuesday. The wildlife center has seen an influx injured distressed

Ashley Barthel, an intern at the Fox Valley Wildlife Center, feeds birds on Tuesday. The wildlife center has seen an influx of injured and distressed animals following the recent heat wave and stormy weather. | Jeff Cagle~ For Sun-Times Media

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To help

Donations are accepted at the Fox Valley Wildlife Center, P.O. Box 385, Elburn, IL 60119. Monetary donations can be marked for “emergency fund.” For information, visit www.fvwc.org.

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ELBURN — The Fox Valley Wildlife Center hasn’t turned away nature’s orphaned and sick animals during the difficult economy, but the past weeks of extreme heat and summer storms has further challenged the already strained not-for-profit animal hospital.

“First storms, then the heat… there is at times a continuous flow of animals coming into the center, and donations are not keeping up,” said Andrea Krueger, vice-president of the wildlife center’s board of directors.

“We have chosen not to turn these animals away and not to limit our intake, but it has taken a toll.”

Krueger said the center’s emergency fund — which helps the rehabilitation center cover the costs for medicine, veterinarian bills, medical supplies, formulas and food for the animals — is at a dangerously low level.

Some animals at times require a series of costly vaccinations, while sick animals need antibiotics and steroids to recover, she said.

Krueger said donations have not kept pace with the hospital’s intake of new patients and expenses over the last three years and the hot weather has further drained their resources.

“Our intakes have doubled, while donations are down. We have increased our fundraising efforts, but it is just not bringing in enough money,” she said.

The rehab center took in animals overcome by heat and lack of drinking water during the weeks of stagnant hot weather. Krueger said the animals that live in Kane County’s forested areas and rely on small creeks probably found them dry.

Two adult squirrels, one of which is pregnant, are in serious condition, she said.

Krueger said the center received 50 to 60 young birds and 15 newborn squirrels that were thrown out of nests in high winds. Another newborn squirrel was brought in as a result of the recent storms.

Dozens of species of birds, including fledgling Cedar Waxwings, fill the bird recovery room.

“They have to be fed every half-hour — they are beautiful, very secretive birds that live mainly in the forests,” Krueger said.

The wildlife rehabilitation center has cared for more than 6,000 abandoned and sick animals since it opened in 2000. The center is in a former ranger’s home in the Elburn Forest Preserve at Route 38 at Lorang Road.

Krueger said fundraisers are planned for September, but that is a long way off. It costs approximately $40 to feed and provide medical care for each injured and orphaned animal, and animals that require longer stays cost more.



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