Wildlife rehabilitators decline by half since 2001

The number of wildlife groups caring for injured animals in Wisconsin has dropped by half over the last decade, putting pressure on places like the Raptor Education Group Inc. in northern Wisconsin.

The Department of Natural Resources reports there were 225 wildlife rehabilitators in 2001. That dropped to 113 in 2012.

The DNR’S wildlife rehabilitation expert Mandy Cyr attributed the decrease to the declining economy and 2006 changes in permitting that perhaps led some smaller groups to stop.

Marge Gibson of Raptor Education Group in Antigo says its avian patients and budget have doubled over the last decade, and she and her husband have had to dip into their retirement savings to keep up with demands.