An­swer­ing the calls of in­jured wildlife

The Borneo Post - Good English - - Short Story Section - By Robert Sa­muels

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

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