ROGERS COUNTY, Okla. -- Severe weather season is known by another name at Wild Heart Ranch.
The wildlife rescue group calls this time of year "orphan season" because the volunteers see an influx of baby animals come into their care.
"I feel directly responsible for the health and welfare of every single life that comes in this door," Director Annette King said. "Every single life, whether it's a bald eagle or a cotton tail rabbit, it's my responsibility to do my best to give what's best for the animal."
King said this year hundreds of orphaned animals will stay in the nursery that her group added onto its facility after receiving a flood of donations.
"Squirrels are getting out of here right now," she said. "We're taking in raccoons, cotton tails, birds and opossums. In two weeks, it will be deer."
Severe storms, like the damaging ones that struck Green Country Tuesday night, will often lead to more orphans coming in, and King said that will make the price tag for their care to keep climbing.
In fact she estimates that one baby raccoon will cost about $350 to take care of. Multiply that expense by the 150 raccoons she expects to take in, plus the dozens of other animals, and King said money disappears quickly.
"The workload is stress enough," she said, "and there's no time for fundraising when we get hammered."
She and her dedicated volunteers expect to step in and act as parents, at least temporarily, for close to 2,500 orphans between now and the end of summer.
Anyone interested in donating to Wild Heart Ranch can contact the group.
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