Second Chance gives birds a chance to soar again
The Second Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation Center has been taking in and mending sick and injured animals for decades here in Castle Country. What they don't take in is public funding. The doctoring given to some of the most majestic creatures in the sky relies exclusively on volunteer services and private donation.
"We require funding 365 days a year as we don't have any days without patients to care for and feed," said Second Chance Director Debbie Pappas.
With the holiday season at hand, the rehabilitation center is currently caring for several birds including a golden eagle which came from Montezuma Creek in July.
"Unfortunately, due to her injuries, this bird will not be released back into the wild," said Pappas. "After looking for half a year to locate appropriate placement, we are happy to say that once the mountain of transfer paperwork is completed, she will be going to Little Rock, Ark. where she will live out her life as an educational bird."
According to Pappas, many of the birds that end up being non-releasable, wind up in this line of work. They become an educational ambassador for various facilities around the country. However, the director was clear that the center's purpose and passion is to get these animals back into the wild.
"It can be a very difficult decision to make, knowing that these animals will always long to be in the wild, but that's a part of the job," she explained. "This Arkansas facility has been highly recommended so we feel good about sending her there."
Because of the level of caring exhibited by Pappas and her staff, the Second Chance facility on Carbonville Road is recognized by animal rehabilitators as one of the most respected sanctuaries in the region. Respected yes, but also small. Pappas and her volunteer crew, led by Connie Waddell, receive between 250 and 300 patients per year with injuries and illnesses of every shape and size.
"Because of the variety of species we treat and the range of their injuries we need to be fully stocked with supplies for any situation, never knowing what is coming next," explained Pappas.
The center cares for mammals as well as many types of birds all the way from "hummingbirds to eagles."
In Utah, wildlife rehabilitation is covered by a small and ever-shrinking handful of professional caregivers. In fact, the Beehive State has one of the smallest groups of rehabilitators in the country.
"Honestly, when most people find out what is involved and required by the job, they opt out," said Pappas.
As the director of her own facility, Pappas must maintain a permit along with any costs associated with it, she explained that neither state wildlife agencies nor federal departments do anything to help financially.
"They issue the permits, oversee quality control and call when they have a patient," she said. "But our relationship ends there."
Anyone interested in donating to the rehabilitation center can contact Pappas at wildliferehabilitationinutah.blogspot.com or at (435) 650-3441.
The facility takes nutritional donations like deer and other animals used to feed the birds, as well as monetary funding. Contact Pappas for a more complete outline of acceptable donations.