Busch Wildlife Sanctuary swamped with more than 100 hurt, orphaned animals affected by Isaac

JUPITER, Fla. - Baby birds open wide and chirp, foxes jump and howl, and turkeys waddle and gobble.

David Hitzig's pet project is bursting with animals.

Hitzig opened Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter in 1983, when he says there was no hospital for sick and orphaned wildlife.

Now, he has plenty of furry and feathered patients, especially since the storm spawned from Isaac passed through.

Hitzig says people turned in more than 100 animals, who were presumably affected by the torrential rain and fast-moving wind. He says the sanctuary is "overwhelmed" and "filled to capacity."

 "The wind often blows nests out of the trees. Right now, we're seeing a lot of squirrels, some baby birds," Hitzig said.

And he's seen lots of rabbits, which nest in the ground. The sanctuary's animal hospital is also treating a heron and some other ocean-dwelling birds.

"We've had a lot of those come in because just take a look at what that ocean was like and the rough seas and everything else, and for a bird bobbing up and down in that for a couple of days, they end up washing on shore," said Hitzig.

During the storm, the non-profit flooded. Workers there had to pump several feet of water.

There was no structural damage, but the sanctuary did close for a few days.

"We had to remove some of the animals out of the cages because their cages just got too flooded for them to stay there," Hitzig said.

He says it will take at least six weeks to rehabilitate most of the new patients that Isaac's wind blew in.

Busch wildlife reopened Friday. The non-profit is asking for donations to help its new patients.

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