Wildlife Sanctuary dealing with COVID-19 impacts

A wildlife sanctuary in Butte County is feeling the financial hit of COVID-19. Action News Now spoke to a volunteer from Barry R. Kirshner Wildlife Foundation about how it is hurting them.

Posted: Nov 22, 2020 9:24 PM
Updated: Nov 23, 2020 11:27 AM

OROVILLE, Calif. - A wildlife sanctuary in Butte County is feeling the financial hit of COVID-19.

Action News Now spoke to a volunteer from Barry R. Kirshner Wildlife Foundation about how it is hurting them. 

"We depend on donations and on guests. We are open to the public Tuesdays through Sundays. Children are $6 adults are $10," said Angie Bracco.

Angie Bracco is a volunteer at the sanctuary and says even though they are still open they have had fewer people coming, so it's hurting them financially.

"We feed about 600 to 700 pounds a day and going into winter we need a lot of shavings, every donation is tax-deductible," said Bracco.

Bracco says the shavings keep the animals warm in the winter, and for animals who can't be around them, their enclosures get covered with tarps.

However, they also have to pay for their animals with special needs, since they only take in animals who cannot live in the wild.

"We consider them non-releasable for any reason, 70% of our animals are special needs so there is no way they can be released. Really that's where the name in the sanctuary comes in," said Bracco.

"Staff at Kirshner say a donation of any size will help the animals whether it's a big one or small one.

"Depending on the cat we have lions, tigers, bears, and five types of leopards they will eat anywhere from 25 to 45 pounds in a sitting," said Bracco.

Bracco says they do follow all the COVID-19 guidelines, so people can easily social distance while there.

"It is a very big space to walk around so you are not near other people, I mean I think for educational purposes as well. I mean these animals serve as ambassadors for their species that is what their job is, to educate younger generations to make different decisions and keep them in the wild," said Bracco.

Bracco says they've also had to make changes with their volunteers' schedules to make sure they are all staying healthy.

Bracco added that they are not able to go to the schools to teach kids about the animals right now, but they still work with different television networks to try and keep people informed. 

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