SAN ANTONIO — A Texas nonprofit that nurses and releases animals back into the wild is struggling to keep operating after novel coronavirus concerns cut off one of its main sources of funding.
“So this is little Remy. Little Remy actually came in a few weeks ago,” said Michelle Camara, owner of Southern Wildlife Rehab, picking up a small Virginia Opossum.
“He’s unable to use his arms, so he’s not going to be releasable,” she said. “He’s going to have to stay with us for education, which is fine, providing that we have money to take care of him.”
Remy, along with the other animals at Southern Wildlife Rehab, depend on donations brought in through educational demonstrations at schools.
“We go into schools and into juvenile jails and all kinds of places to provide therapeutic wildlife education,” Camara said. “We do a lot with nonverbal children and autistic children all over San Antonio, any type of events—we’ll doit just to get the education out there.”
Camara says that since schools closed because of the coronavirus, those opportunities have all but dried up.
“With COVID, we don’t have anything happening. We had one Zoom class and that was it. And they were really generous with their donation on that.”
At times, she has had to rely on personal funds to keep the animals from going hungry.
“We have actually gone over our account a few times at the bank because there just isn’t any money there," she said. "But we still have to feed our animals.”
She's encouraging people to reach out, whether it’s to set up a Zoom class for a private event, or simply to donate whatever they are willing to donate.
“Since we have no state or federal funding, we rely completely on the donations from the public," Camara said. "And I can’t tell everybody how much we appreciate when they are able to donate.”
Zoom classes for a suggested donation can be requested by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (210)825-8961.