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May 13, 2011 11:17 PM by Shawn Kline

Wildlife forced into dry neighborhoods

As the water rises, wildlife heads for higher ground as well.
However, some animals may be in need of rescue.

"We found two nests to be absolutely in danger of the water." Donna Gee says, "the water was lapping at the base of the nest."

Gee works with Wildlife in Distress- removing animals in danger of floods and other disasters (with the permission of Louisiana's Department of Wildlife and Fisheries).

Friday, she helped remove six orphaned osprey, each just inches from drowning.

"Everything else pretty much nests high in trees." She says, "but osprey tend to nest on tree stumps in the water."

The osprey may need a helping hand but most of the wildlife is moving on their own.

"They had birds all along the bank here," Jean Begnaud said. "I've been here since '96 and I haven't seen that, so I guess they're coming from other areas to find higher ground."

As the water in the Atchafalaya rises and comes inland, the flood removes land area and the wildlife moves inland as well. Sometimes, potentially dangerous wildlife.

"Alligators, snakes, a lot of birds that are normally not stagnant here," Begnaud said of her back yard.

Her back yard already has a different landscape than it did Monday. A post she planted at the water's edge now stands above the rippling river at a distance of about 20 yards.
She says the rising water is even bringing alligators dangerously close to her home, but like most people in Butte LaRose, she's moving out while the wildlife moves in.

LDWF says other animals like black bears, poisonous snakes, deer and feral hogs may also be forced into neighborhoods as the water rises.

If you encounter any of these species, you're asked to contact your local LDWF field office:

Baton Rouge 225-765-2800
Hammond 985-543-4777
Monroe 318-343-4044
New Iberia 337-373-0032
Opelousas 337-948-0255

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