Finding injured or orphaned wildlife is common in Mississippi, and local resident, Hayden Burns, is giving them a second chance.
“There wasn’t really anywhere close-by where people could take injured and orphaned wildlife animals, and it’s illegal in Mississippi to care for them yourself,” said Burns.
Through her organization called the Central Mississippi Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Burns is helping these animals get back on track and takes them through a process that releases them back into the wild.
“Once they’re at an age where we can take them off the bottle, they are moved outside into the pre-release enclosure, where we limit their human contact.”
She says these animals usually become injured or orphaned due to humans.
“A lot of the mothers are hit by cars. A lot of the mothers are killed by dogs, cats, and people.”
Although they may be small and cuddly, Burns says these animals are not pets.
“Even though when they’re babies and sweet and cute, they do grow up. They bite. They can severely hurt you, and they also carry a lot of diseases.”
Therefore, she says if you can across an animal that needs help, you can bring it to the shelter.
She adds what you can do to keep these animals safe.
“For any pets that you have, get their food in at night. That way you’re not inviting these wildlife animals into your yard. That will prevent them from becoming a nuisance to you.”
The Central Wildlife Rehabilitation Center needs volunteers. If you wish to help feed these wildlife animals and clean their cages, the state requires you to attend training. The center will host the next volunteer training at the beginning of next year.