Heat and storms injure wildlife, Tucson Wildlife Center receives thousands during summer months

Published: Jul. 28, 2023 at 10:45 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - The excessive heat and monsoon season has been taking a toll on people and their pets, but what about wildlife?

Serving as southern Arizona’s only wildlife rescue hospital, the Tucson Wildlife Center has been open for 25 years and has treated tens of thousands of animals.

In an average year, the center helps 5,000 animals. Though many different creatures and critters come in daily, the rescue sees most animals from March to September.

The heat is one of the reasons why many animals end up at the center. Many animals come in dehydrated, but others like the Cooper’s hawk, come in because their home is too hot to handle.

“Some of them are injured from falling from their nest, falling from trees, typically in this hot weather like we’re having right now,” said Hubert Parker. Parker is the development director at the center.

“You will have baby birds that get so hot, like Cooper’s hawks that build their nests high up in the trees, and they will jump out of their nests because it’s so hot.”

Monsoon is another concern for animals. After a strong storm, the center prepares for a wave of calls about animals needing help.

“Trees can get blown down, nests can get blown out of trees, wires can go down, animals can get hurt, so there’s definitely an influx after a bad storm,” Parker says. “So we trained our people on the phone calls, and we’re trained to help out and to assess the situation.”

The center has been helping animals for years, but there was a time before it opened its doors when animals had to figure out how to heal from their injury without help.

So why not let nature do its own thing?

Parker says that keeping wildlife healthy is not only the right thing to do but having people care about the animals is what makes Tucson a great place.

“People say let nature take its course. We feel like we’ve encroached on their habitat. They were here first and feel like giving back to the animals and wildlife that don’t have a voice.”

If you come across an animal needing help, call the wildlife center for help before bringing in an animal.

The center does not take in bears, deer, or mountain lions; these needed animals should be directed to AZ Game and Fish.

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