Spring is here in full bloom and that means babies - especially wild animal young'uns - are being born and sometimes orphaned or injured.
The Georgia Wildlife Rescue Association is offering a class on April 26 on how residents can act as "first responders" to rescue wild, orphaned baby animals.
The GWRA will offer its "Basic Emergency Care & Procedure for Injured or Orphaned Wildlife" class on Saturday, April 26, at The Morrow Center at the Southlake Mall in Morrow, Ga. Those attending will learn how to safely secure and care for injured and orphaned animals as they are being transported to the proper wildlife rehabilitation facility. After completing the course, volunteers will be added to an on-call list to act as "first-responders" to wildlife emergency calls.
The GWRA is hoping to double or possibly even triple its statewide network of volunteers that respond to reports of injured or orphaned wildlife throughout the state.
The first class was offered three years ago and approximately 200 trained volunteers have been added to the network since that time, but that's not nearly enough to cover the whole state says GWRA director, Chet Powell.
"People tend to forget that Georgia is a very big and diverse state with mountains in the north, a substantial coastline, the Okefenokee Swamp and the Coastal Plain so our wildlife rescues involve everything from small mammals like rabbits, foxes and skunks to large ones like deer and bears. We rescue freshwater turtles, gopher tortoises and sea turtles and birds ranging from hummingbirds to raptors such as hawks, owls and bald eagles to big wading birds and sea birds."
The participating organizations for this intensive one-day course include The Androcles Society, Carolina, AWARE (Atlanta Wild Animal Rescue Effort), Florida Keys Wild Bird Center, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia Sea Turtle Center, Georgia Wildlife Rescue Association, Laurens Wildlife Rescue, Southeastern Reptile Rescue, St. Francis Wildlife Association and US Fish & Wildlife Service.
Powell added that the initial response to the class has been great. "People began registering immediately after we announced it on our Facebook page and the class is nearly half full already," he said. "We are especially looking for volunteers in the sections where we have very few volunteers. This includes counties on or near the Atlantic coast from the Florida line to Savannah; the I-16 corridor that includes Savannah, Statesboro and Swainsboro; the area around Augusta; the northwest corner of the state that includes Rome and also, the Columbus and LaGrange areas.
The fee for the class is $40 for GWRA members and $60 for non-members. There is additional information on the Georgia Wildlife Rescue Association's Facebook page including videos, photos and information about the instructors. To register for the class, visit www.georgiawildliferescue.org