Local wildlife shelter at full capacity, asking for help from the community

Animals

NEWPORT, N.C. (WNCT) — The Outer Banks Wildlife Shelter in Newport took in a record number of animals in 2021, with over 3,200 over the year. However, due to a need for volunteers and funding, that number was difficult to manage.

“For this past year, that’s the highest number that we have seen so far. I would not doubt that we’re going to see more than that,” said executive director of the shelter, Brooke Breen.

Breen said they never turn down an animal they can help, but lately, that has presented a challenge. The shelter rehabilitates wild animals that are native to North Carolina who have experienced trauma, such as being hit by a car.

“We’re on a coastal area, we’ve got all these different environments, jam-packed right into this little area. So we see thousands of different species of birds. So it’s birds, it’s mammals, reptiles, just about everything,” said Breen.

Breen added the majority of the animals at the shelter are brought in by residents and adds the pandemic may have been a factor in the increasing numbers.

“So people are going outside and just finding a whole lot of animals that they normally would have overlooked previously, and I think that that’s part of one of the reasons our admission rates have skyrocketed in the past two years,” said Breen.

She said there is a problem with all these new intakes.

“We’re seeing a whole lot more animals, but not even close to as many of the donations to care for those animals as we normally would,” Breen said.

In 2021, the shelter was $43,000 short of its needed budget. Breen said they need the community’s help.

“We need money. We need to grow. You want us to do all these things, help us do the things. We want to do the things,” Breen said.

They said they can use volunteers with virtually any skill. If you are interested but concerned about handling the animals, they do plenty of training.

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