Pa. Wildlife Shelter Scrambles To Save Food Stocks
STROUDSBURG, Pa. (AP) – Being without power for a week is difficult for anyone, but when you have nine freezers full of rats, chicken and quail meat to keep from spoiling, a power outage of that duration can be crippling.
At Pocono Wildlife and Rehabilitation Center in Cherry Valley, Director Kathy Uhler and her husband, Eric Uhler, have been working constantly to keep their generators fueled and running so the animals stay warm and their food doesn’t spoil.
PPL Electric Utilities estimated that power would be restored to all customers no later than Sunday, but for Met-Ed customers like the Uhlers, the outage could last into the early days of this week.
So far, the storm has cost the center about $4,000, Kathy Uhler said Sunday.
The facility was running on three gas generators donated to the center during a power outage caused by a July 2009 tornado. Two of those generators “blew up” this week and one of them developed a leak, Eric Uhler said.
The couple was able to purchase two new generators for about $2,500 this week, and the facility is now running on those.
They have to periodically move the generators to power the nine freezers they have on property to store the animals’ food. They try to power each freezer for several hours at a time.
The frozen rats, chickens and quail would be very difficult to replace.
“We get our rats and mice three times a year from a lab in New York,” Kathy Uhler explained.
The zoos in New York and New Jersey lost a lot of their food during the storm, and she worries it could cause delays when it comes time for the Pocono center to replenish its supply.
“You have to wait your turn in line. We may lose our place in the line this December,” she said.
The animals’ food was still safe on Sunday, but an entire refrigerator full of antibiotics and anti-fungal medications worth $500 was lost when it wasn’t connected to the generator soon enough.
Monetary donations or gas and grocery cards would go a long way toward helping the center recover from the storm, Uhler said on Sunday.
After Monday’s storm, an anonymous donor contacted the Uhlers and offered to match $5,000 toward a permanent propane generator that would power the entire facility, Kathy Uhler said.
“To me, it’s like, whatever happens we will deal with it,” Eric Uhler said. “We do what we have to do to keep the place going.”
To donate to Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, contact Kathy Uhler at 570-402-0223.