Animals Suffering From Frostbite and Starvation In Extreme Cold - WBAY

Animals Suffering From Frostbite and Starvation In Extreme Cold

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Thursday morning you'll wake to the 48th day of sub-zero temperatures and Northeast Wisconsin will tie an all-time weather record.

It's causing unusual, extensive ice cover across the Great Lakes, as well as other bodies of water, making it difficult for diving ducks and other wildlife to find food and water.

On this eve of yet another negative double-digit winter day, hundreds of diving ducks huddled on top of the ice, while a handful of water-loving fowls leisurely paddled in a private pond, clearly the envy of their feathered friends.

But this isn't a timeshare in Florida.

This is rehab.

Animals like diving ducks rely on open water for food and warmth, but this winter there's little to be found and they're not only starving, they're suffering from injuries like frostbite.

"With the diving ducks we usually see a couple and we're up to 20," says Lori Bankson, the Animal Curator at Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary.

That's not all.

"We're seeing bats coming in, we're seeing animals like possums and red tail hawks, a lot of animals coming in that are very weak, that are starving, dehydrated" says Bankson.

The Wildlife Sanctuary's rehab program has more than tripled this winter.  From the pelican with frostbitten feet to the possum with frostbitten ... everything.

"These aren't his toes. These are the bones, for his toes that should be covered up with skin. The tip of his tail, that's the bone for his tail, his ears that are crusted over ... I mean he should have toes, that's bone, dead bone. This one's probably the worst case I've ever seen," says Bankson.

Extreme cold has also made food difficult to find.

"We do this twice a day make sure they get enough water make sure they're maintaining their weight," says Bankson, feeding a live worm to a brown bat.

Which is why insects that enter rehab never leave.  

Those animals that do recover fully will be released in spring.

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