Rescue and Recovery
Frozen mice are very expensive,” says Stephanie Brady, founder of Wild West Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. They’re nearly $1 per mouse, and represent one of the primary food sources for the raptors being nursed back to health by this nonprofit, which is located at 2901 N. Soncy Road, not far from Wildcat Bluff Nature Center.
In recent weeks, Brady and her team of volunteers have cared for two Ferruginous hawks. One arrived underweight due to a parasite. Wild West has been nursing the raptor back to health.
But she doesn’t just care for mouse-eating birds of prey, which in the past have included golden eagles, juvenile bald eagles, and a variety of owls. The nonprofit also rehabs injured or sick porcupines, skunks, opossums, raccoons, foxes, squirrels, turtles, bats, turkey vultures … it’s a long list.
A former vet tech, Brady once worked for a Metroplex-area veterinarian who sidelined as a wildlife rehabber. The work captivated her and she applied for an official Texas Parks & Wildlife animal rehabilitation permit, which allowed her to care for a wild animal on her own property (subject to state inspection).
Life brought her to Amarillo in 2015, and Brady discovered she was the only permitted rehabber in a region the size of West Virginia. Animal Control and Texas Parks & Wildlife began bringing her injured or abandoned animals: 200 that first year, then more than 750. As the numbers grew into the thousands, Brady knew it was time for formal action. Today, several volunteer rehabbers work under her permit at the Wild West headquarters on an acreage leased from Wildcat Bluff.
It’s now the only state and federally permitted rehab facility across all 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle, and together, Brady and her team rehab more than 3,000 animals a year. (Due to the intricacies of permitting, they also rehab raccoons from the Lubbock area, a total of 80 in 2022.)
Infant animals may reside at Wild West for up to six months. Injured animals may be on premises for six weeks before safe release into the wild. That requires a lot of frozen mice, exam gloves, towels, medications, disinfectant, cages and other supplies. “We apply for grants but don’t get any federal or state money at all,” Brady says. She is currently raising funds for a facility to house educational animals—like Stinkers, a rehabilitated, de-scented and now domesticated skunk—separate from rehab animals.
Call 806-680-2483 for 24-hour emergency service (injured wild animals) or visit wildwestwildlife.com to learn more.