Calif. Wildlife Rescue Center Asks for Public Donations After Acquiring Nearly 900 Orphaned Ducklings
“This is the time of the year that we are extremely busy because it’s baby season,” Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center Director Debbie McGuire tells PEOPLE
The Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach, California, is asking for food and monetary donations to help with the 900 ducklings they've acquired.
WWCC board member and one of the directors, Debbie McGuire, tells PEOPLE the center had 100 ducklings brought to them in the past week. Typically, the center receives about 1,000 ducklings per year brought in from people and animal control.
"This is the time of the year that we are extremely busy because it's baby season. Not just for baby ducklings but for possums and squirrels and birds and everything else," McGuire tells PEOPLE. "This is the peak of baby season, which is what we call it."
While many of the ducklings were in need of care, McGuire warns about human interaction and the negative impact it can have on the orphaned babies.
"The thing is we want babies to stay with mom at all possible. That's the best chance of survival – with mom. And mom knows how to take care of them. It might not look that way to us," she says. "Our intentions are to help the babies, but taking them from mom is not the best option. Keeping them with mom and letting mom be mom and teaching them how to be wild animals is the best chance of survival."
Of people bringing in ducklings, McGuires shares, "A lot of times people will be like 'Oh my gosh they're so small, I'm going to bring them to you.' Meanwhile, mom's looking for her babies. Or they think 'Oh, I'm going to feed them' and we don't even want you to do that because then they're going to be dependent on you and not on their mom to teach them how to survive in the wild."
"What we think feels good is not good for them," she says.
The WWCC is asking for donations because many of the ducklings have to stay in the care facility for months before they can return to the wild.
"Usually we get them when they are babies and without mom," McGuire tells PEOPLE. "It takes a couple months for them to be able to be self-sufficient. We wait for them to be fully feathered so they can fly."
Those looking to help can donate here or drop off food to the WWD between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm at 21900 Pacific Coast Highway.
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"We are so thankful for all of the lettuce donated since yesterday. We have enough for the week. And since lettuce has such a short shelf life, maybe you can donate cash here so we can keep getting fresh produce as needed. You are all so amazing," the shelter posted on Facebook Monday.
The post continued, "We need your help. We need lettuce (romaine, green leaf, red leaf). We can't keep up with the lettuce demand for hundreds of orphan ducklings. Our regular shipments are not enough. THANK YOU for all your generous help. Just drop it off at your convenience between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m."