“The reception of animals in distress is exponential”, worries Cathy Zell of the LPO Alsace. Heat waves, violent storms, hail, drought… Small wild animals have suffered from the latest extreme climatic phenomena, all the more so since they were early this year and in the midst of breeding and feeding the young. As a result, the number of residents collected at the association’s hospital in Rosenwiller (Bas-Rhin) reaches more than 5,200 animals each year, a hundred more collected in June compared to last year for the same period.
While nearly 17 storks were injured by the hailstorm at the end of June, it was the heat wave that wreaked havoc. The young swifts and swallows were the first victims, more than a hundred in one weekend were deposited at the center of the LPO Alsace. Hedgehogs are the third most represented species, with more than forty babies in care in June. “As many young people who require both attention that is time-consuming, because bottle feeding and beaking must be provided every two hours with very specific foods,” says Cathy Zell. “The consequences are therefore extremely important on the work that must be done and costly because you need additional people and specialized food for each species. The volunteers take turns from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., and a permanent team is essential to ensure continuity in the monitoring of the animals, because it is a hospital. »
funds and arms
Problem, the LPO Alsace – which nevertheless has around sixty volunteers, employees, trainees, eco-volunteers, Erasmus students – is starting to run out of funds and arms. The need for donations is the consequence of care which can be long. “Animals stay until they can be freed and when they are toddlers, they are taken to emancipation,” explains Cathy Zell. A tit takes three weeks to grow, a stork two and a half months. »
With each climatic event, its share of victims. During heat waves, swallows and swifts are vulnerable because both species nest under roofs where the temperature can reach 50 degrees. When there is a hailstorm or very heavy rain, it is on the contrary the nests exposed to the weather that suffer, like those of storks. “Each phenomenon affects such and such a species. At this time, with the drought, the birds need water to refresh their plumage, to remove parasites, to drink. »
In addition to weather phenomena, there is an increase in the cost of living, especially fuel, for the LPO, as for everyone else. An important but unavoidable point which contributes to weigh down the accounts of the association which picks up the animals dropped off at its relay point in Haut-Rhin on a daily basis. “In fact, costs are increasing for all items,” points out Cathy Zell. Also the LPO Alsace calls for generosity. Donations that will allow her to help buy the necessary products (food, medicine, etc.) and ensure the continuity of care.