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North Carolina Rescue Group in Danger of Closing


http://www.wcnc.com/news/local/stories/wcnc-083009-sjf-waterfowlwoes.1309f39db.html?npc

Rescue group in danger of closing

INDIAN TRAIL, N.C. -- Carolina Waterfowl Rescue is a victim of its own success. The group that rescued oil-soaked birds from a Steele Creek industrial park in June is now a resource for people who find injured birds all over North and South Carolina.

Since word got out about its unique services -- cleaning up and helping the state's injured water birds -- hundred of ducks, geese, and even egrets have found their way to the rescue group's door. Until now, that door moved from one volunteer's home to another.

Now the Waterfowl Rescue has a permanent home of its own -- a former turkey barn in Indian Trail, with free-range pens where the birds can walk, play in water, and even fly, if they can. It has shelter, electricity, and fresh running water.

"It's really good and there's a lot of room for them to roam," said volunteer Louise Bhavnani. "There are not a lot of issues with them being too close in confined quarters."

However, with the birds' new home has come more "bills" than the group can handle. They severely underestimated the costs of utilities that volunteers had previously paid when the birds were housed in people's backyards.

"We budgeted for a certain amount each month and unfortunately, it's larger than we anticipated," said Bhavnani.

The rent and utilities for the new space run about $650 a month -- about $400 more than they budgeted for. Food and medical care are often donated, helping them make ends meet.

But unlike other non-profit organizations, they have no organized way to raise money. They've existed by relying on volunteers to "foster" the birds, and a few other bird-lovers who hear about the organization. They're afraid they'll lose their new home before they can get their fundraising activities in order.

"Unfortunately there's nothing more we can do," said Bhavnani. "We will have to shut down and that's sad because we've saved so many birds."

Some of the ducks and geese can be re-introduced into the wild once they're rehabilitated. Others never can because they're injured, or have become so domesticated that they'd never be able to care for themselves. Some even harbor harmful bacteria that could make wild bird populations sick.
So the group is turning to the same people who helped them out before -- the community. They're networking with other rescue groups, zoos, and larger non-profits, but also hoping a grass-roots effort by bird lovers nearby will help them make ends meet.

"Even $10 a month to help us pay the rent and the medical supplies and food and water for these birds," said Bhavnani, who points out that there is no paid staff. "Every single dollar that goes to this organization is going directly towards the care of the bird, the housing of the birds and the things that they need."

To find out more about Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, visit www.carolinawaterfowlrescue.com .

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