Tagged flood

IWRC Member Spotlight: Letitia Labbie

Name: Letitia Labbie

Organization: Acadiana Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation

Location: Youngsville, Louisiana, United States

Letitia releasing a bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus).

IWRC: Hi Letitia! So, tell us a little bit about yourself…

Letitia: I am one of four federally permitted Rehabilitators in the state of Louisiana. I founded Acadiana Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation in 1998.

IWRC: What brought you into wildlife rehabilitation work? 

Letitia: I started rehabbing wildlife at ten years old when my fifth grade teacher would bring babies to school.

IWRC: What wildlife species do you rehabilitate?

Letitia: I specialize in birds of prey but end up doing all birds.

IWRC: What is your fondest wildlife rehabilitation memory?

Letitia: Every release is rewarding. But, I guess educating people about how important it is to rescue wildlife is what keeps me going.

Six Mississippi kites (Ictinia mississippiensis) rescued after Hurricane Barry hit in July 2019.

IWRC: What challenges have you faced in your wildlife rehabilitation work?

Letitia: Lack of funding is my biggest challenge. My center building was flooded in August 2016 during a state-wide catastrophic flooding event and I’ve been trying to get donations to renovate it. The number of birds increase each year but I have no volunteers or space until I can rebuild the center.

IWRC: Has the IWRC aided you in your journey as a wildlife rehabilitator? If so, can you explain how or give an example?

Letitia: I’ve always relied on the IWRC for information and training.

IWRC: What common misconception about wildlife rehabilitation would you like to dispel?

Letitia: That we get paid to “do our job!” I haven’t received a penny of income since I started.

Letitia holds a great horned owl rescued from an oilfield pipe yard.

IWRC: How has your wildlife rehabilitation work been impacted by COVID-19?

Letitia: My number of intakes and phone calls have increased due to people being home and finding baby birds and injured birds. I’m actually working harder since I’ve been out of work from my high school job as an assistant teacher.

IWRC: What local, national, or international policy would you like to see that would support wildlife rehabilitation?

Letitia: Funding for rehabilitation centers. 

IWRC: What do you hope for the future of wildlife rehabilitation?

Letitia: I hope that more people will see the growing need of centers in each state. Louisiana has none. Only individual rehabilitators.

IWRC: What message would you like to share with other IWRC members and wildlife rehabilitators across the world?

Letitia: Hang in there! 

IWRC: Where can people learn more and follow your work?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/acadianawildlife/

IWRC: Thank you so much for everything you do and sharing your story with us, Letitia!


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