Wildlife Rehabilitators Giving Animals A Second Chance - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3/9/05-East Texas

Wildlife Rehabilitators Giving Animals A Second Chance

"I'm a registered nurse and I'm a mom, so you put those two together and I have this maternal instinct backed up by a little medical knowledge."

The perfect recipe for a wild-life rehabilitator. For three years, Tayna Thibodeaux has been taking in everything from skunks and rats, to flying squirrels and most recently river otters.

"At any given time we can have five or six different species of animals in different areas of the house."

And whoever's not in the house, stays in an outdoor facility Tanya created for animals to live in while they get ready to go back to the wild. That and everything else for the little guys is done on Tayna's dime.

"We receive no state or federal funding. This is just something we do because we love to do it and because there's no help out there for wildlife in East Texas or anywhere else."

Tayna feeds them, hunts food with them, and nurses them back to health from injury. She works with each animal for sometimes months at a time.

"Wouldn't it be awful to not be able to go outside and see squirrels jumping in the trees or little skunks running around with their perfect white stripes down their backs? I just think that all wildlife is so unique and special."

And that's why she does what she does: to see her kids grow up and become successful.

"When we open those release hatches, and we let them go and we watch them run up in the trees, it's like watching your child go off to college and being able to say, well they made it."

Reporting: Braid Sharp bsharp@kltv.com

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