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South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Inc.

   March 2021 Update for Lubbock and the Texas South Plains Communities

South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Inc., is the equivalent of a hospital for wildlife. With this being our purpose, our facilities are not open to the public. Normally, we have Open House events - to give people interested in our operations, and the wildlife we serve - an opportunity to tour our facilities, observe care we provide for our patients, along with meeting our staff, interns, and volunteers. Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, we are required to follow strict protocols to protect our workers and the wildlife in our care. We will resume regular events when it becomes safe for everyone here at the Center, as well as the public. (Even though Governor Abbott removed mask mandates and “opened” Texas 100% as of March 10, 2021, we will continue to follow Covid-19 protocol for as long as we deem necessary). Thank you for your understanding and support during these challenging times.

   Volunteer feeds a baby Cottontail Rabbit

2021 - Some New Updates

Last year brought many new challenges and changes to the Wildlife Center. The good news: SPWRC is now in it's 33rd year of operation! The bad news: Covid-19 affected us as it did everyone and virtually everything else in our suddenly not-so-normal-lives. That notwithstanding, Director Gail Barnes and her staff and volunteers managed to stay healthy and continued all the day-to-day operations, but with some changes. Admissions exceeded 2600. Bird admissions accounted for 71.4% of all admissions, while mammals were 27.3% and reptiles at 1.3%.

Our 2020 Spring and Fall Open House events were cancelled due to the pandemic and as of now, the next one this coming spring will likely also be cancelled.

Sadly, we lost our Barn Owl "Jasper," (left) who was with us since 1995, and he will certainly be missed. 

Donations were very good throughout the last quarter and during our annual Holiday Appeal - as most everyone knows now, we are licensed by the state of Texas as well as the federal government, but we receive no funding whatsoever from either regulatory agency.  

You can follow goings on at SPWRC on Facebook, Founder Carol Lee's personal Facebook page, and on Instagram.

Baby Bird Season will be upon us all too soon again, so before you call us, please read what steps to follow in your decision making here on our web site on the tab above, "Baby Birds 101." Please render aid if necessary but don't kidnap healthy fledglings hopping around on the ground - where they normally spend a couple days learning essential survival skills from their parents -- who are always nearby, even though you may not see them!

Thank you to everyone who helps us continue our twofold Mission of wildlife rehabilitation and environmental education!

The basis for the article below appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and

was written by Mitchell Willetts, October 22, 2020:

A Texas Wildlife Center rescued a common animal in a rare predicament earlier this week.“This is a first for us,” South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Lubbock said Wednesday, posting a photo of a tiny, mostly hairless opossum. The Center estimates the opossum, which weighs less than 1/3 of a pound, is between 3-4 months old. “She would never survive in the wild,” the Center said, adding, “The opossum will need a winter wardrobe.” Volunteers were quick to raise their hands, offering to knit sweaters, crochet tiny coats, or donate unused pet clothing.

“What are the measurements for her waist, around her shoulders/neck, and from her shoulders to her butt?” one commenter asked. “I can knit her some shirts and dresses.” Her waist, 4 inches, shoulder and neck, 3 inches, neck to butt, 4.5 inches. “I’m not really sure how it survived,” Gail Barnes, Executive Director of SPWRC, told McClatchy News. “By the time a Good Samaritan found the animal and dropped it off at the Center, it was in bad shape. “It was really hypothermic, so we warmed it up in the incubator,” Barnes said.  

     Since arriving, it’s been eating better than most opossums ever will. “Today, it had crickets, yogurt, cottage cheese, baby food, soft cat chow, and small pieces of beef heart,” Barnes said. “But it really went for the crickets and the yogurt!”

It’s likely the opossum’s lack of fur is a result of alopecia, she said. The auto-immune disease that causes hair loss in people is found in the animal kingdom as well. As a result, Barnes said, “I don’t think this opossum can ever be released.” Still, the marsupial isn’t completely hairless, and Barnes hopes that with time and proper care, they can not only improve its overall health, but promote more fur growth. “She does have a little peach fuzz on parts of the body, so we’re going to feed her a very good diet and bring some of that out - She’ll be in rehabilitation for quite a while.” For those interested in donating to the naked opossum's wardrobe, or in helping fund her care, our contact information is here on our website. (Some edits to the original article made by Carol Lee).

Important Message from Founder, Carol Lee:

Some of the information on this page / web site refers to our policies, programs and activities prior to the Coronavirus Pandemic. We hope this will pass eventually, so rather than re-write the entire page, please keep in mind that things are different right now and for the short term at least.

Call us at 806 799-2142 if you have questions

Important Message from Director Gail Barnes:

In response to the Coronavirus concerns, SPWRC has implemented procedures for protecting our staff, volunteers, interns, and the public. These changes are being put in place in keeping with the social distancing orders.

Our Animal Drop-off Building is still open 24 hours a day,

but we ask that you complete the paperwork inside and leave the wildlife you rescued in one of the cages.

*We will not come out to the building until after you leave the premises.

Our hours to the public have been adjusted as follows: Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon

Sunday Closed - Our Animal Drop Off Building will continue to be checked

Thank you for your patience and cooperation during this difficult time.

Please call 799-2142 if you have any questions.

The Wildlife Center admitted a Flammulated Owl recently.

This photo is of a Flammulated Owl admitted to SPWRC in November, 2000.

The owl in our care at present is expected to recover completely and will be released.

Highly migratory, the Flammulated Owl a very small owl with dark eyes and short ear tufts.

Its diet is primarily insects.

You can read much more about this diminutive member of the owl species on the web!

Our new electronic front gate was installed!

There is also a small similar gate on the walk-through section adjacent.

The focal point is a likeness of our front sign, complete with our Mockingbird logo!

A Mockingbird was my inspiration to start a Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Lubbock in 1988. Thanks to our "anonymous donor" for the funds to create this! 

South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Inc. is an IRS determined 501 (c) 3 non-profit facility that cares for orphaned, injured, ill and displaced wild animals with the ultimate goal of returning wildlife back to its natural habitat whenever possible.

Busy "Baby Season" is likely to begin in March or April. If our winter continues to be mild, doves and squirrels will be starting families, soon followed by songbirds like Blue Jays, Robins and Mockingbirds in May.

We'll be very busy during daylight hours 7 days a week.

If you'd like to volunteer, call us at 806 799-2142 and talk

with Gail Barnes, our Director (Many things are on "Hold"

during the pandemic - Call and speak with Gail if you have questions

The Wildlife Center does not take domestic pets (Cats/kittens, dogs/puppies, pet parrots, rabbits, etc.)

This link provides a list of Lubbock Area Animal Rescues that work with domestic pets.  

How can SPWRC help you?

Where you located and what are your hours?

(Please see information at the top of this page for information during the Coronavirus Pandemic

SPWRC is on Indiana Avenue at 95th Street behind the 80 ft. wall with a wildlife mural. Our official address is 3308 95th Street Lubbock, TX 79423. The Wildlife Drop-Off building in our driveway is open 24 hours a day.

Volunteers and staff are on site seven days a week during daylight hours only.

Where do I go if I bring you an animal?

(Please see information at the top of this page for information during the Coronavirus Pandemic

There is a white building in the parking lot where all animals check in. Please fill out an admission slip with information about the animal and you (its rescuer) for our records.

During daylight hours, a buzzer will sound and someone will come out to meet you (Summer Staff hours – 8 am to 8 pm).

Weekends and after hours – fill out the admission slip and leave the animal in a box or in one of the cages. Staff checks the building every morning and periodically throughout the day.

Please do NOT try to enter the main property (past the electric gate) or go to the house at the front of the property.

The Animal Drop-Off Building (pictured) is the point of entry for all animals admitted to SPWRC.

What should I do if I find a:

  • Wildlife Youngsters – When to Rescue
  • Baby Birds – Baby Birds 101
  • Cottontail Bunnies – Cottontail 101
  • Chimney Swifts

How can I make a donation of supplies? Take a look at our Wish List of needed supplies.

  • You may purchase items locally and bring to our Animal Drop-Off Building (95th & Indiana)
  • Or use SPWRC Amazon Wish List – order from Amazon and have it delivered to us

How can I make a monetary donation?

Donations are tax-deductible to the extent the law allows. South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit facility. 

How can I be a volunteer at SPWRC? Forms and Information available HERE

  • Adult Volunteers (age 18 and above)
  • Junior Volunteers (age 12 to 17) during the summer months

Can I visit SPWRC and see your animals?

  • The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is not open to the public except during our Open House events.
  • The animals are recuperating and need rest and quiet.
  • Our next Open House will be sometime in spring. Details will be posted here and on our Facebook page.

Can I schedule an environmental educational program for a group?

  • Programs are done for a fee. Funds raised support our operating and general expenses.
  • SPWRC receives no funding from federal or state agencies. Contact Gail Barnes at 799-2142 for more information.

Additional Links:

  • Mockingbird Chronicles
  • Contact Us
  • Wildlife Ambassadors
  • Photo Gallery
  • Success Stories
  • Commemorative Bricks