Wildlife sanctuary facing funding shortage - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Wildlife sanctuary facing funding shortage

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Tom and Cecelia "Cec" Sanders at their Wet Mountain Wildlife Rehabilitation sanctuary near Wetmore. Tom and Cecelia "Cec" Sanders at their Wet Mountain Wildlife Rehabilitation sanctuary near Wetmore.

There are a lot more animals in need this year across Colorado, and while wildlife rehab centers are seeing a lot more orphaned and injured animals in need of care they are facing a shortage of funds.

One center in Wetmore is facing a massive funding shortage. The Wet Mountain Wildlife Rehabilitation Inc., is run from the rural home of Tom and Cecelia "Cec" Sanders. Their home of 31 years doubles as a refuge for wild animals and is a 120 acre sanctuary where the rescued animals can be nursed back to health.

The animals are also taught a healthy fear of humans before being released back into the wild. This year, bear encounters are up with dozens caught on camera from May through September. Parks and Wildlife officials say one of the reasons behind it, a freeze in the spring that killed off acorns on scrub oak trees. 

"Because the natural food sources aren't there we're finding sows and cubs all through out towns across the southeast region and across the state," Jena Sanchez volunteer coordinator with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

The Division of Wildlife says once rehab centers are lost, they have to look at the unpopular choice of euthanizing animals more and more.

"There are thousands of animals that get released back into the wild thanks to the wildlife rehabilitators," Sanchez said.

Wet Mountain is one of only three rehab facilities in the state that deal with large predatory mammals, including bears. 2017 is turning out to be a tough year for the Sanders, both retired Pueblo teachers, as their non-profit is facing financial pressures due to their specialty of rehabbing large mammals.

Wet Mountain currently has a fawn, racoons, badgers and bear cubs. One bear cub can eat 25 pounds of food a day.

Anyone who is interested can send a tax deductible donation here:

  • 743 Crestview Dr.
  • Florence, CO 81226

Click here to email the Sanders directly. 

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