Injured raptors can soar again, hurt skunks can spray again and other sick or orphaned wildlife should be able to get treatment thanks to a grant from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The department is directing about $550,000 in grant funding to 45 nonprofit wildlife organizations to care for injured, sick or orphaned wild animals in California. The money comes from taxpayer contributions to a voluntary tax fund.
The animals "need our help now more than ever," said the department's director, Charlton H. Bonham, in a statement.
“We are proud to quickly make funds available to help these important partner organizations operate during difficult economic times," Bonham said.
In 2019, the 45 organizations collectively cared for almost 112,000 wild animals, including bats, opossums, reptiles, foxes, songbirds, fawns, sea birds, coyotes, raptors, skunks and bears.
The money is intended for such things as operations and ongoing facility needs, innovative animal care, diet and behavioral enrichments and monitoring after release.
California taxpayers get a choice to donate money to wildlife when they fill out their state income tax form. Taxpayers have donated more than $820,000 since the Native California Wildlife Rehabilitation Voluntary Tax Contribution Fund was created in 2017.
“I am so pleased these organizations will receive the funding they deserve," said Assemblymember Marie Waldron, whose Assembly Bill 1031 created the fund.
“Without them, California's wildlife would suffer, which would mean we all suffer," Waldron said.