Since 1977, EarthShare of Texas member Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation (WRR) has been continually putting up the good fight for the beautiful native and non-native species that make the human/animal ecosystem wonderful. Their mission to “rescue, rehabilitate, and release” these species to the wild—their home—has never wavered. Over recent years WRR has become more proactive in its advocacy efforts. With a 212-acre wildlife sanctuary and veterinary hospital in Kendalia, TX and intake and rehabilitation clinic in San Antonio, Lynn Cuny, Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Founder and President, and staff support and heal the birds, mammals, and reptiles that need it most.
Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation serves as a constant reminder that the ones who can lend a helping hand and voice to the cause is another animal altogether: humans.
Bird(less) City Texas
This year, San Antonio was certified by Bird City Texas, which is an Audubon Texas and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department “community-focused certification program created to help protect birds and their habitats.” Unfortunately, local officials and institutions have long targeted the egret and other migratory bird rookeries within Elmendorf Lake Park and Brackenridge Park in an effort to disrupt their lives and evict them from their homes. These birds only take up residence in San Antonio for 4-5 months per year to breed and raise their babies. This is a critically important time for these species and these rookeries should be protected, not destroyed. Since 2000, elected city officials, the City of San Antonio, and San Antonio Parks and Recreation have:
- Bulldozed or topped swaths of trees where egrets nest and thrive
- Used harmful chemicals, such as Bird Buffer, on active ecosystems (with full knowledge of these toxins being harmful to animal and human life)
- Gone to great lengths to create havoc and noise disturbances to frighten the birds to abandon their natural home in the community
The Texas Department of Agriculture banned Bird Buffer in 2018 at Brackenridge Park for its life-endangering effects on the wildlife. Yet, the City has still allowed these toxins to be sprayed in public parks at the expense of animal and human safety. This battle is happening right now. The reddish egret is already a Threatened Species, according to the Federal and State Listed Species of Texas.
WRR’s website clarifies: “Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation avidly opposes the mistreatment and blatant disregard for these animals by city, state, and federal entities. We will continue advocating for these birds and call for the protection of their rookeries.”
WRR has made strides to have a positive influence in easing the plight of these egrets through posting signs at parks to raise public awareness of these birds (signs that are now being removed by the city of San Antonio), providing medical treatment when the birds are found injured or ill, and using their own platform to speak up and educate others on this crisis.
Along with Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation and EarthShare of Texas, the egrets’ greatest advocate is you! Your voice, your energy, donations, and actions are all necessary and valuable to end the suffering of these beautiful birds. And when you donate to EarthShare of Texas, a portion of your contribution goes towards WRR in their efforts to protect and advocate for these birds.
As Rachel Carson wrote in her famous book Silent Spring, “How could intelligent beings seek to control a few unwanted species by a method that contaminated the entire environment and brought the threat of disease and death even to their own kind?” We are not alone, and we can not stand by.