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WERLA Rehabilitates Injured Wild Animals To Return To The Wild in North LA

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Courtesy: WERLA
Wild birds such as this owl are taken in by WERLA from parish animal control which isn't equipped to handle injured raptors.

WILD ANIMAL RESCUE - Have you ever come across an injured wild animal? Most people probably don’t know what to do or who to turn to for help. And regular veterinarians usually won’t treat a wild animal. That’s why the group: Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation of Louisiana was established a few years ago. Known as WERLA for short – the non-profit group is made up of mostly volunteers who are trained in getting injured wild animals taken care of so they can be returned to the wild. And Christie Chapman, Vice president for WERLA says their number of wild animal injury cases has increased through the years. Areas that were once undeveloped have now become sprawling business areas or subdivisions. So more people are encountering injured wildlife in their neighborhoods. People often try to take on an injured wild animal on their own which is a mistake for two reasons: first, it’s illegal. And second: most don’t really know what to do.

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Courtesy: WERLA
Two orphaned fox kits were taken in by WERLA for rehabilitation and release into the wild.

"You know we hear all the time that people are so grateful for what we do because there's no one else that does it. And you find a poor helpless little squirrel and what are your choices?" Chapman said.

From tiny birds to large raptors, from small reptiles to squirrels, possums, raccoons, and even bobcats, the Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation of Louisiana non-profit has seen it all. They are always in need of volunteers who are willing to be trained in this special service. And they also need funding.

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Courtesy WERLA

"We receive donations through private citizens and that's mainly where we get our donations, our funding at this point. And we can only take in as many animals as we can afford," Chapman explained.

WERLA was denied a small grant from the Caddo Parish Commission recently even though 42% of their intake was from Caddo Parish Animal Control which, by the way, isn’t equipped to deal with injured wildlife. They hope the commission will reconsider at their next meeting. If you’d like to find out how you can help WERLA, they can be found on Facebook and their website: is www.werla.net . They are also participating in the Community Foundation of North Louisiana’s GIVE FOR GOOD Campaign on May 3rd.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.