Snow damages Wildlife Images' animal enclosures



    Days of snow followed by rain resulted in damage to four of the animal enclosures at Wildlife Images last week.

    No animals were harmed, and all are safe in temporary housing, but one of the bird enclosures at the rehabilitation and education center west of Grants Pass was destroyed.

    Wildlife Images Executive Director Dave Siddon said the aviary, known as Compound No. 1, was built with help from an AmeriCorps team.

    "It's probably not repairable," he said.

    A red-tailed hawk was inside the enclosure when everyone arrived Thursday but was sitting safely in the corner, out of harm's way.

    "It will need to be rebuilt before spring, when rehab season kicks in. It provides an area that birds can free fly in before they're released into the wild — getting their wings in prime condition," said Siddon.

    Cory Alvis-Allen, the center's animal care and education team leader, said staff and volunteers initially were able to keep the snow under control by scraping it from metal roofs and knocking it off netted ceilings.

    That was Monday and Tuesday of last week. On Wednesday night the crew made their closing rounds, doing preventive maintenance and making sure everyone was "tucked in and safe and sound," said Alvis-Allen. "We returned Thursday morning to the damage."

    The roof to the metal skunk cage had buckled under the weight of the snow.

    Wildlife Images' three resident skunks, Scratch, Sniff and Kimmie, were secure in their little igloo houses within the enclosure, "but probably had a rough night with all the scary sounds around them," she said.

    "The skunk enclosure, as you can see, is made of steel, we didn't expect it to have roof damage. It's about 3 years old," Siddon said.

    The net ceiling on two other aviaries also was damaged, in the ibis and crane holding area and the aviary called Eagle Flight.

    "It doesn't look like much," Siddon said, "but it will cost several thousand dollars to replace the netting."

    Added Alvis-Allen: "Fortunately, we just had work done on many trees a few weeks ago … or we would have had much more damage."

    This is the third time in the last five years that the Wildlife Images compound has been damaged by storms.

    The worst incident occurred in December 2012 when three large oak trees fell, damaging a gazebo-style pavilion, the clinic, two animal structures and a van.

    A new 4,000-square-foot pavilion is slated for construction with funding from last year's Rotary Duck Derby.

    — Reach Daily Courier reporter Lisa Whiting at 541-474-3718 or lwhiting@thedailycourier.com

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