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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pets and Wildlife also hit hard by Hurricane Ike

Hurricane Ike has been devastating. Even as far away as the Midwest, we had some 'residual' damage, flooding, power outages, and deaths.

But natural disasters like this storm also separate families from the their pets, not to mention the lives of many companion and homeless animals. The Houston SPCA and other area animal agencies are hard-at-work with animal rescues.

The Houston SPCA has activated its Animal Response Hotline. Operators will be accepting lost and found animal reports, rescue reports and offering other animal related information. The hotline will be staffed from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call notes are available so those who call in after hours may leave a message which will be returned first thing in the morning.
The number is 713-435-2990.

We don't think about how wildlife fares during storms. But think about it. Many trees are taken down or damaged during storms and this forever changes the urban forestry landscape in an area. It is often the old trees that fall and do the most damage - the same trees that serve as historical and important shelter sites, food resources, territory boundaries, and ecological landmarks for urban wildlife. With flooding, animals retreat to trees or little pockets of dry land or rooftops. These dry places are little islands, often providing no shelter or food, forces animals to huddle in close proximity that they are not accustomed to. Fighting and predation often result. And the food is gone, drowned in water, and starvation becomes a reality.

For the most part wildlife tends to be okay after such disasters. But I'm speaking in overall terms. In other words, the population should bounce back and everything will be fine after a while. But on an individual scale, there is always lost: shelters, refuges or hiding places, and scarcity of food. And it's usually the most vulnerable that don't fair so well - the sick and ailing, old, and the young.

Ike's Smallest Victims - This is a video of the urban wildlife that were also victims of Hurricane Ike. Wildlife Rehab and Rescue are sheltering over 200 baby squirrels and a flying squirrel who were injured in Hurricane Ike at the Houston SPCA. Video by Meg Loucks. September 14, 2008.

(A baby squirrel being hand-fed milk formula by a volunteer.)


Houston SPCA publishes Updates from the frontline that can be accessed here.
Or you may want to donate to their efforts.

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