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501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization | The Ellijay Wildlife Rehabilitation Sanctuary does not presently rehab migratory or birds of prey
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Tornado Strikes Sanctuary

Severe Damage to Habitats, Fences, and Our Limited Budget!

The weather service was watching a line of severe thunderstorms move through the Southeast on Monday, April 4th. This storm, capable of producing high winds, damaging hail and tornadoes, came through Georgia from 10:00 p.m. through about 2:30 p.m. April 5th. At sunrise, Debbie Cylke, Wildlife Director at the sanctuary, began climbing through trees to get a head count. Dozens of large white pines and several hardwoods had either been blown down by the storm or were snapped off by the tornado and thrown about the sanctuary. Roads and paths throughout the sanctuary were blocked. The root balls of uprooted trees stood as high as 20 feet and equally as wide. Clearly, Debbie prayed for the best but feared the worst.
Sanctuary Entrance of Hwy 282
The worst would be an escaped animal - not because it was dangerous, but because an animal housed in a sanctuary has little chance of securing food and water to survive on its own. It would be a slow death for any that were not recaptured.

Methodically, Debbie assessed each habitat and checked the condition of every animal. Some cages were torn open by a falling tree, but the heavy trunks and wide branches blocked the exit for one of the bears. Advanced planning the day before paid off at the cougar habitat. All the large cats were still in their three-story habitat, which was untouched by any of the fallen or thrown trees. However, the perimeter fences and interior fences were badly damaged.

After climbing around cages and buildings for several hours, the final tally was in - not a single animal had died or was injured. Only one escaped - a wallaby. While not indigenous to Georgia, it had been brought to the sanctuary by Ed Cylke, sanctuary president, to help him cope with the loss of his wife. The chances of a wallaby, indigenous to Australia, surviving in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains was clearly zero.

Resigned to the loss of Buddy, Debbie headed uphill to check on Ed's house. Again, she found more downed trees, some of the oldest and largest on the sanctuary grounds. While checking around the perimeter with the help of a fulltime volunteer, who should pop his head around a corner but Buddy.
Sanctuary Entrance of Hwy 282
Wallabies jump like kangaroos, and can defend themselves with their powerful tails, feet or a bite, but Buddy was accustomed to Debbie and Wes, and with her usual quickness, Debbie had Buddy in her arms and secured. Now the next task - starting the recovery work.

To see just what "recovery" means, see the images below. These are also posted on our Facebook page. We could use your help encouraging people to visit our web site or Facebook page and let their own hearts guide them whether or not to donate of their time or money. Thank you for your help!

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cougar kitten panther kitten
cougar kitten panther kitten
cougar kitten panther kitten
cougar kitten panther kitten
cougar kitten panther kitten
cougar kitten panther kitten
cougar kitten panther kitten
cougar kitten panther kitten
cougar kitten panther kitten
cougar kitten panther kitten
cougar kitten panther kitten
cougar kitten panther kitten
cougar kitten panther kitten
cougar kitten panther kitten
cougar kitten panther kitten
cougar kitten panther kitten
cougar kitten panther kitten
cougar kitten panther kitten
cougar kitten panther kitten
cougar kitten panther kitten
cougar kitten panther kitten
 
Grizzly

501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization
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Rebuilding the Sanctuary

It will be a substantial challenge to rebuild the sanctuary. Most of it was built step-by-step over years as donations allowed. Now, it has to be reconstructed for tours this year - starting in just a few weeks.

Donations

Your donations go to the support and reconstruction of The Wildlife Sanctuary. Some of this requires dollars, and some of it requires hard work by hand. Please visit the Sanctuary or call us to arrange a time to volunteer.

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