Prize-winning woman treats wildlife at non-profit center | Go out and go

Debbie Souza-Pappas has dedicated her life to caring for sick, orphaned and injured wildlife as the Founder and Executive Director of Second Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation at Price. Souza-Pappas and another full-time volunteer looked after beavers, porcupines, mink, squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits and birds.

“Most of our work is about birds – raptors, songbirds,” Souza-Pappas said.

Trained as a medical laboratory technician, Souza-Pappas began her apprenticeship in Salt Lake City with another wildlife rehabilitator in 1994. She then obtained permits and a license to open her own wildlife rehabilitation center in nonprofit at Price.

The rehabilitation site was built thanks to “a generous donor who wanted us to be here forever,” said Souza-Pappas.

Second Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation cares for approximately 450 patients per year and is funded by donations.

“My biggest donors are in Moab,” she said. “This is where my people are.

Souza-Pappas receives animals from 15 counties in Utah, the majority from Carbon, Emery, San Juan and Grand counties.

“We cover the largest geographic area of ​​all rehabilitations,” including Salt Lake City, she said.

The most difficult problem, she said, is figuring out how to transport patients to the center. A volunteer collects many animals.

State and Federal agencies, as well as the general public, call the SCWR regarding injured wildlife. Police dispatchers, state highway patrol, sheriff’s offices and the US Forest Service are also calling to report injured animals. Motor vehicles are the most common cause of injury, although animals are also injured by bullets, poisoning, and illegal entrapment.

Marion Eason and her husband Nick, members of the Moab Bird Club, have known Souza-Pappas for fifteen years. They often helped transport injured wild animals to Souza-Pappas.

“We brought everything from hummingbirds to golden eagles,” Eason said. “If anyone found a bird, they would call us and we would transport them to Debbie,” where they ended up about halfway through Green River.

“Debbie is a very dedicated person,” added Eason. “She gave herself body and soul to save animals and she is to be congratulated for it.”

Spring and summer are the busiest seasons in the center when babies sometimes fall from their nests, Souza-Pappas said.

While she doesn’t believe climate change has affected the number of injured wildlife she has seen over the years, she does say she has witnessed “strange behavior” regarding the nesting habits that she has seen. it “adapts to climate change”.

The center is run entirely by volunteers and donations. Souza-Pappas said supporters typically hold fundraisers five or six times a year through the Second Chance Facebook page.

It is stressful not knowing how much money the organization will have from year to year, she said.

There was a two week period last year when SCWR had to stop taking new patients. The hospital was full and there was no money for additional medicine or vet visits.

“All of our patients take pain medication and antibiotics for a period of time – and it’s not free,” she said. “Many are in need of surgery.”

Food expenses also add up. For example, it costs between $ 1,500 and $ 2,000 per month to feed its raptor patients. This cost varies depending on the time of year, she said.

Raptors eat rodents such as mice and rats, as well as quails and pheasants – animals bred specifically for the rehabilitation of raptors.

Last year, the cost of raptor food increased to $ 4,500 per month over a period of approximately three months. She said other rehabilitators were reporting similar numbers. They determined that this was due to the greater number of people working from home and therefore the discovery of more animals. At the same time, donations were down – likely due to COVID-19.

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