Nature's Nursery faces tough times - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Nature's Nursery faces tough times

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It's been a long difficult winter for a lot of us and that includes wildlife. The extreme weather has taken its toll on a local organization that helps injured and orphaned animals. They are also about to lose a major donation. A Michigan lab donates tens of thousands of dollars worth of mice and rats every year to help feed the animals but the lab is closing which means nature's nursery will now have to make up the difference. This comes just as they get ready to start the busiest time of the year.

Executive Director Candee Ellsworth says it's been a tough winter, "Traditionally winter is our slow season but that is not the case this year. The extreme conditions have meant extra staff, extra supplies and medicine and extra food."

They take in about 3,000 animals a year and most of them are able to return to the wild but this year a lot of the animals are having to stay at the center longer because of the extreme cold and record setting snowfall, "We have a lot of waterfowl in particular this year because of the lack of open water. They are coming in emaciated, dehydrated, tired and hungry."

Mice and rats are a big part of the diet for many of the animals. A lab was donating them but that is coming to an end. Angel Slaman is the Operations Coordinator,"We go through 3,000-4,000 mice and rats a month. That adds up to about $60,000 a year, so to lose that is a little frightening." They do raise some of their own mice and rats, but Ellsworth says it's not something they can do on a large scale, "To raise a lot of them takes extra staff , extra time and extra food that we don't have."

Even with the extra challenges, the staff at Nature's Nursery is confident the community will step up to help, "It is scary but we know we have the support of our members and volunteers so we will get through it."

Nature's nursery does take in donations from hunters and fishermen to help feed some of the animals but for nutritional reasons many of the animals need to have mice and rats in their diets. Because of that they will have to find a way to come up with the money to cover the cost.  A number of zoos and wildlife rehabilitation centers received donated mice and rats as well, so they are facing the same situation. 

If you'd like to make a donation to Nature's Nursery, click here.

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