BY MELANIE BUCK –
Arkansas Native Plant and Wildlife Center has seen a big spring influx of babies and needs sponsors for the cute little bundles. Tommy Young, director of the Center, said they have already received dozens of baby fox, owl, raccoon, possums, deer, and more, and the season has just begun.
Along with all of those critters comes a large food bill. Young said that the baby owls alone eat around 25 mice each day, to encourage the skeletal growth of the feathery creatures and, with each mouse costing 50 cents each that cost grows quickly and dramatically.
Young said that anyone is welcome to sponsor an animal. Sponsoring costs between $150 and $250 depending on which animal you choose, but Young does offer sponsors the chance to be a part of the release when that time comes. Young also said that if you can’t fully sponsor an animal, you can go to the Farmer’s Co-Op in Mena and buy a sack of grain or milk replacers, such as goat, kitten, or puppy replacers. He said that a baby deer can go from drinking one can a day to six cans a day, and again, at $4 per can, the cost builds up quick.
Young does want to remind the public that it is illegal to pick up a baby deer, or fawn, and can bring a $500 fine and that he is the only one certified to do such. If you find an animal in need, contact Young at 479-437-3750, and he can come pick it up instead to insure no laws are broken. You can also call the number above if you would like to help in any way or to sponsor an animal.