Answering the calls of injured wildlife
As the city of Tallahassee woke up relieved that it had been spared from Hurricane Michael’s most brutal gusts, Teresa Stevenson woke up nervous in a den of screeching animals 20 miles away.
She was cut off from the world in a trailer in a 36acre forest, a quarter-mile down an unpaved road blocked by felled trees and heavy branches. Keeping her company were her two labs, some orphaned squirrels and opossums, a blind raccoon, and a crow with a broken foot. As the director of the St. Francis Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, she nurses injured animals until they can be released back into the wild.
She had decided to wait out the Category 4 storm here - with her babies, as she called them - to make sure the animals weren’t harmed.
“The cage over here is destroyed,” she said as she examined the wreckage. “The cage over there is destroyed. The cage over there is destroyed.”
Trees crashed into the middle of a separate enclosures for hawks, opossums and four baby deer. Branches hung over them. If they fell, Stevenson feared, the animals could die.
No places were left unscathed by the deluge of rain and fierce winds that pummeled the Tallahassee area; many remained without power Thursday. But those who were more fortunate tried to help their neighbors. It was this kindness that Stevenson hoped to tap into to save her animals and her sanity.
She called a colleague, who posted a request for assistance on social media. They dialed in to the local public radio station, telling the public about sick animals that were trapped. Inside the trailer, Stevenson chopped small cantaloupes and rotting bananas to feed the tiny creatures and waited for help.
“I know someone will help us,” said Stevenson, wearing a T- shirt with a squirrel on it. “People are most positive during a hurricane. It brings