Local organization seeks space for 'wildlife 911' facility

An eastern box turtle in the care of Appalachian Wildlife Refuge on May 5, 2016. The organization has been in operation for two years, needs somewhere to rehab all the animals they rescue. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- A nonprofit wildlife organization has the funding and support but needs a space to work.

Appalachian Wildlife Refuge has been in operation for two years but really needs somewhere to rehab all the animals they rescue, with the public's help.

In the last four days, 150 injured or orphaned animals were reported locally.

"They just happen to find a nest of bunnies while they're mowing their yard. They're driving down the road and a hawk flies in front of their car and gets hit," Savannah Trantham, a co-founder of Appalachian Wildlife Refuge, said.

A group of people involved in wildlife in a number of ways saw a need for an organization that could help wild animals. That's how and why Appalachian Wildlife Refuge was created.

"People don't really understand how many truly do come in and how many people find," Trantham said.

This organization rescues animals and puts them through a rehab process to get them ready to be released back into the wild where they belong and thrive.

That job would be easier if these volunteers didn't have to travel one and a half hours away to the closest 'wildlife 911' facility.

"As of right now, all those home-based rehabilitators are still taking in these numbers at home, and then we are helping, as an organization, to network and triage and transport animals to get them to places like Banner Elk and Charlotte and Raleigh and even further," Trantham said.

The problem is fewer and fewer home-based people can take in wildlife.

"They don't have the time. They don't have the space. They don't have the funding," Trantham said.

That's because the number of injured and/or orphaned animals is increasing at what this organization's founders call 'an alarming rate.' So, the focus is on finding a space.

"We have raised over $30,000 so far and we have enough to start operating," Kimberly Brewster, a co-founder of Appalachian Wildlife Refuge, said. "Now we've got to find doors to open, so we're seeking space in the Asheville area. Ideally in the 240/40 perimeter or right outside."

What they're looking for is a location, 10 acres or more, where these animals can get the rehab they need and deserve.

Appalachian Wildlife Refuge serves Western North Carolina and wants to continue doing that, so they need a space that can handle a few hundred animals at a time.

Click here to find out how you can help rescue wildlife where you live.

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