Rehabbing Red Tide Animals

While the red tide cleanup continues, animals are still washing up on our beaches, some of them still alive. Here’s what one local rescue group is doing to try to keep them this way.
Missy Dubuisson, founder and director of Wild at Heart Rescue, said, “Last week we saw, most of the birds come in and they all basically died just within a few hours of us retrieving them.”
Wild at Heart Rescue has been working extra hard the past two weeks as dead fish, birds and other animals continue to wash ashore, all victims of the red tide, as this visiting family from Oklahoma discovered, after coming across a duck on its last leg. Keri Hutchens said, “We were just walking down the beach next to the water. We could tell it was hurt.”
“Don’t approach them and touch them with your bare hands. You want to get gloves or call us. People with weak immune systems, it can affect you. It can cause headache, nausea and some respiratory distress for people with asthma or a weak immune system,” said Dubuisson.
Since the red tide began, Wild at Heart has tried to rehab 70 ducks. Of those, only seven have recovered. “They’ve done very well,” said Dubuisson, “Even though they came in with horrific symptoms. It’s a neurotoxin that’s out in the water right now. We’re hoping soon to get all these animals released into their natural environments but until it’s all gone, we don’t want to heal them up and send them back into a toxic environment.”
One duck won’t make it back home, despite Wild at Hearts best efforts, the little guy just couldn’t hang on, yet another victim of the toxic algae.
There’s still work to be done and hope that even the red tide can’t wash away. “For now, we’re just going to keep retrieving the birds and do the best we can with them,” said Dubuisson.
If you find an animal that needs help on the beach, or anywhere along the Coast, you can call or text Wild at Heart Rescue at 228-669-7907. They will pick up any indigenous Mississippi wildlife for rescue or rehabilitation with the ultimate goal of releasing them back into their natural environments when ready.

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