Wild animals in rehab need community’s help


The holidays are a special time of the year when many warm and fuzzy feelings are in the air. Local fuzzy friends are in need of our community’s help this Christmas.
One-eyed Willy is one of the birds being nursed back to health by volunteers with Wild at Heart Rescue. Wild at Heart Rescue Volunteer Jamie Pope said, “We believe he had been hit by a car. He had severe head trauma and he is now missing an eye. It had swelled up really bad and we got the swelling down.”
Gulfport resident Jamie Pope has volunteered with Wild at Heart for five years. Her involvement has transformed her backyard into a rehabilitation center for wild animals in need of care. “She literally looked melted when we got her in. She was in horrible condition.”
“We had 92 animals at one point last year because I’m also a drop off point we had 860 animals at one point.”
Building housing for the animals and caring for them, it’s all volunteer work. Some of the latest patients under Pope’s care include a set of seven barn owls rescued from northern Mississippi. It takes a lot of commitment to do what these rescue workers do every day. “Cleaning all the poop, all the owl pellets, and sometimes you get animal in that’s full of maggots and it’s just a handful,” said Poop.
But to Pope and other volunteers, it’s worth it. “It really is the love of the animals. It’s getting them back out to where they belong.”
Pope says the barn owls go through three mice a day, costing Wild at Heart nearly $500 a month. This Christmas volunteers are asking the community to help by donating at Wildatheartrescue.org. “When you take something out of the food chain, everything else will go rampant so they’re really important for everyone.”

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Gina Tomlinson could not be happier to sink her feet into the sandy shores of the Gulf Coast. Gina graduated from Central Michigan University where she reported for the student-operated sports show and award winning news station. During her time at CMU, she majored in broadcasting arts and has a double minor in journalism and sports management. Gina interned at WZZM 13 in Grand Rapids. She fell even more in love with her passion for broadcasting while obtaining skills and techniques she now utilizes at WXXV. When she’s not at work, Gina likes to do yoga, volunteer, rock climb, dance, swim, bike, run, eat ice cream, read, wakeboard, kayak, hike and explore the Gulf Coast. To Gina, life is an adventure and she is overjoyed to be starting her career at News 25.


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