EDGEFIELD COUNTY/NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WJBF) — A group of women in North Augusta, South Carolina is taking their love for wild animals to the next level. Each year, Wild for Life typically takes in around 300-400 orphaned or injured wild animals with the goal of releasing them back into the wild.
Raccoons, foxes, and even a goat called Rosie. You’ll find some of everything at Wild For Life Animal Rehabbers in North Augusta, South Carolina.
Laura Coppernoll has been rehabbing animals in the Aiken, Edgefield, and Barnwell County areas for more than 20 years. She says that there’s always a need to help more wildlife. “Every since I started this, every year it’s just been more and more animals,” she told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk.
We’ve learned land clearing could be the main reason why we see so much displaced animals.”People are like wow, I’ve lived here for 20 years and I’ve never seen a fox and then you find out that 500 acres of land were just cleared,” Christine Hunt added.
When they come in, the intake process is just like a trip doctor’s office. Weight, as well as dehydration levels, is checked. If the animal is cold, they are warmed and then given fluids and medicine and a bath. “So we keep lots of medications on hand because we never know what we’re going to get and when we are going to get it,” Coppernoll said.
While they’re many positives for Coppernoll helping the least of the least, the sad part for her and her team is when patients end up there after being someone’s pet. “Well, when someone gives us an 8-month-old raccoon that they’ve raised alone with a dog, it’s near impossible to release these animals back into the wild because they have now habituated to humans. They think dogs are safe and a raccoon walking up to a dog or a human in the wild is going to get itself shot so sometimes we can kind of catch the misfit up to speed with some other ones that we have,” Hunt said.
If you ever thought about rehabbing wild animals, Hunt says to think again.
“It is expensive. there are risks you have to vaccinate yourself you have to protect your family. If you’re somebody who has a lot of people in and out of your home if you’re very social, having a room full of raccoons is not fair to the raccoons it not safe, it’s not safe for anyone in your house. There are all of these considerations that you have to take into account,” she said.
Coppernoll says that rehabbing area animals is her little way of giving back to those that are often thought about last.
“Dogs and cats have such a large voice with the SPCA and all of that but wild animals just don’t have that and so it’s just been my passion for over 20 years to take care of these little guys that are just completely helpless and don’t really have a voice,” she said.
WIld for Life is fairly full of animals. In order to help more, they need your help. “We may have maybe two or three more spots for some more fons but until we get larger enclosers and bigger enclosers — we have the land but we don’t have the enclosers and it’s not fair to the animal to take an animal just for the sake of intaking it,” she said. “So we will do initial intakes on some of these a lot of times and then we are networking.”
Meanwhile, if you see an injured or orphaned animal, please do not try to raise or handle it on your own, please call an area rehabber.