Residents Brainstorm Ideas to Keep Wildlife Center Open

KA_CCCC_Hyannis_turkey_wild turkies_033016_013WEST BARNSTABLE – A lecture Hall at Cape Cod Community College was standing room only Sunday as the community gathered to discuss options to keep the Cape Wildlife Center open.

The Barnstable facility, operated by the Washington D.C.-based non-profit Human Society of the United States, which provides emergency care and wildlife rehabilitation was originally scheduled to close Friday, but a deal was reached with the Pegasus Foundation to keep it open through the end of February.

The Pegasus Foundation is an animal-welfare-oriented charity that is partially supported by long-time advocate and philanthropist Barbara Birdsey.

Meeting Organizer Elizabeth Brooke says about 200 people were on hand to brainstorm ideas.

An idea discussed often was trying to receive financial support from all the Cape’s towns and the state.

“We were absolutely thrilled at the incredible support we are getting from the Cape Cod community and the concern about continuing such a very important facility that cares for orphaned, injured and ill wildlife,” Brooke said.

A fundraising effort of between $500,000 and $700,000 is needed to keep the center open for the first year.

“One point that got across is as humans we need to recognize the fact that the vast majority of injuries to wildlife are really the direct or indirect role of human activity – whether it is intentional or incidental,” Brooke said.

The center provides care for about 8,000 animals annually.

“We take over 2,000 in a year that we will give direct care to,” Brooke said. “Above and beyond the 2,000 there are another 5,000 or 6,000 phone calls that we receive where there is a human/wildlife conflict or question.”

Brooke said things need to come together quickly to keep the center open.

“We need to majorly organize ourselves,” she said.

They are working to get a Facebook presence, get community support, conduct outreach and build an email mailing list.

Anyone interested in becoming part of the effort to keep the center open can contact Brooke by email at elizabethbrooke@mac.com.

The center hopes to continue its education outreach programs with students from the Riverview School in Sandwich, which is a boarding/day school for students, ages 11-22, with complex language, learning and cognitive challenges on Cape Cod.

Input is being solicited from organizations including The New England Wildlife Center, IFAW, Tufts University Wild Care and other potential stakeholders.

Through March 1, Cape Wildlife Center will operate on a limited scale to provide emergency care and rehabilitation services for animals in need.

Those wishing to support these efforts can donate to a special fund The Pegasus Foundation set up for this purpose. Donations may be made online through Pegasusfoundation.org, using the site’s PayPal link; make sure to select the cause “Cape Wildlife Center.” Donations may also be mailed to The Pegasus Foundation, P.O. Box 787, Hobe Sound, FL 33475; please denote the funds are for Cape Wildlife Center.

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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