AUSTIN, Texas — As Austin grows every year, more people come into contact with wild animals and the need for services and assistance from Austin Wildlife Rescue.
Since 2003, Austin Wildlife Rescue has operated out of a 2,000-square-foot house located on two acres on East Martin Luther King Boulevard. The organization takes in wild animals that need care until they can be returned to their native habitat. They care for as many as 6,000 animals every year including birds, squirrels, deer, rabbits and even skunks! In 2017, more than 7,000 animals were assisted.
Executive Director Hayley Hudnall said they work with several game wardens, who will drop off animals they are called out to deal with.
"A lot of the animals we get are babies, so that means we need to raise them to be ready to go back into the wild," Hudnall said. "We're going to make sure that they can eat, they can catch food on their own, they can climb and they can avoid predators as best as they can."
Due to the lack of space, however, the group is unable to care for all of them and sometimes cages are stacked floor-to-ceiling. In their new rehabilitation facility, Austin Wildlife Rescue will have five different rooms to care for animals, plus large outdoor covered porches where outdoor cages can be placed.
The coordination of handling so many wild animals requires modern communication.
"We can't do our work without full communications," Hudnall said. "It's tight to take in over 6,000 animals a year in 3 rooms. This facility is stacked floor to ceiling in the spring and summer."
The new facility couldn't have been made possible without the help of local tech company, Felix Media Solutions, the fastest growing AV company in Texas. Felix Media Solutions applies its expertise in audio, video and technology to design, install and support interactive systems.
The first step in helping with this rehabilitation facility was by having Felix Media Solutions install a directional antenna 18 feet off the ground in order to connect to a 4G tower located miles away.
"It's going to let us do animal care a lot better and on a higher level," Hudnall said. "We have five different rooms that we will be able to spread the animals out in on top of a surgical suite that's completely brand new."
"For others, this would have been a multi-thousand-dollar project and it would have taken months to get done. But we did it at a cost we could absorb and in an incredibly fast time frame, because we knew this would make an immeasurably positive impact for years to come in our city and for the wildlife all around us,” CEO of Felix Media Solutions Lionel Felix said.
The "wild party" that is the ribbon-cutting ceremony, will take place on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. at 111 Elbow Bend in Elgin, Texas. The Bastrop Chamber of Commerce is the host and the public is invited to attend.