Tornado-damaged Oklahoma wildlife shelter receives much-needed makeover

It has been five months since a deadly EF5 tornado devastated the town of Moore, Oklahoma. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) rushed rescue teams to assist with issues facing dogs, cats, and local wildlife. The following is an update from Animal Lifeline’s Bryn Donnelly on our collaborative efforts to help a local wildlife rehab center get back on their feet. -- SW

One of the Wild Care shelter residents.In July, Animal Lifeline’s Rescue U program partnering with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) took a team of seven people to WildCare a wildlife rescue in Noble, Oklahoma.

WildCare provides care and rehabilitation for wildlife in the greater Oklahoma City area. After the tornadoes that destroyed Moore, OK this May, WildCare was inundated with wildlife. According to shelter owner and manager, Rondi Large, the birds are impacted the most in these storms. 

WATCH: tornado wildlife victims cared for at Oklahoma's WildCare Foundation

“There is no time for them to get out of the way of something that massive”, she told us. Animal Lifeline’s Executive Director, Denise Bash, was deployed with IFAW for the Moore disaster and was checking in with WildCare when a second round of tornadoes came through. The owners of the rescue took Denise in and kept her safe underground as this second series of storms tore through the area. 

They actually caused some pretty serious damage to the rescue's barn, some of their vehicles and animal enclosures. Denise's rental car was totaled while there. 

These folks' hospitality during that terrifying night was amazing.

TOP: A member of the WildCare shelter rebuild team. BELOW: The repaired WildCare enclosure.When Denise returned home, she and the IFAW team made plans to return with Rescue U to help with recovering the facility from the physical damage they sustained.

IFAW funded the Rescue U crew so that the necessary repairs could be made as well as the building of new enclosures to handle future overflow in similar disasters. In the week Rescue U was there, we built them a 45' x 25' metal structure that was divided into 12 enclosures.

It was a huge undertaking even for us!  

We cannot express the amount of love and respect we have for the folks at WildCare. The work they accomplish at their facility is nothing short of miraculous. Keep up the great work down there, and know that we appreciate all that you do!


For more information about IFAW Animal Rescue efforts, visit our campaign page.

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Senior Program Advisor
Senior Program Advisor
Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
IFAW Veterinarian
Katie Moore, Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Loïs Lelanchon, Animal Rescue Program Officer
Animal Rescue Program Officer
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy