Lawrence group that save wildlife facing troubles

LINWOOD, Kan. (AP) — A northeast Kansas organization that returns injured animals to the wild is suffering from some unexpected financial setbacks during its busiest time of the year.

Operation Wildlife in Linwood is facing an unexpected $12,000 in repair costs after its well, washing machine and air conditioner broke down in the last month, The Lawrence Journal-World reported.

Director Diane Johnson said Monday the problems come at as the warehouse is full of baby skunks, ducks, bunnies, songbirds, opossums and raccoons, along with injured animals such as a mangy red fox and a great horned owl with head trauma.

The organization learned about a month ago that its circa-1940s well was collapsing when sand started showing up in the water and the flow decreased, Johnson said.

“We were running out of water, and we have 400 animals here,” Johnson said. “We can’t afford to run out of water.”

A contractor agreed to recondition the well on credit. Water lines were flushed out but the washing machine and faucets and valves damaged by sediment had to be replaced.

Then, the air conditioner went out. Johnson said she is trying to decide whether to repair it or go without this season despite stifling heat in the warehouse.

Operation Wildlife, a nonprofit organization, is licensed by the government but receives all of its funding from donations.

The organization takes in 4,000 to 5,000 animals a year and releases about 70 percent back into the wild. Animals that can’t be rehabilitated are used for public education and outreach. The clinic also provides veterinary services and natural foods for all its creatures.

“What we do is expensive,” Johnson said. “We do whatever it takes to get animals back out into the wild.”

 

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