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Donors help Florida animal shelter prep for oil

By Katie Ross, CNN
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Floridians race to save Gulf wildlife
  • Florida group gets cash, labor and supplies
  • Group leader: Livelihoods depend on taking care of wildlife
  • Shelter nurses injured and sick wildlife back to health so that they can be returned to the wild

Crawfordville, Florida (CNN) -- When Chris Beatty got word about the oil spill in the Gulf, like many Floridians, she wanted to help -- but she wanted to help in a very specific way.

Beatty runs an organization called the Florida Wild Mammal Association (FWMA) in Crawfordville, Florida. The organization houses injured and sick wildlife and nurses them back to health so that they can be released back into the wild. Working very closely with animals, she realized that the region's wildlife could be in serious danger because of the oil spill disaster.

The FWMA takes in over a thousand animals a year -- possums, raccoons, deer and birds.

Seeing images of oiled birds and wildlife splashed across the news channels, Beatty wanted to be ready in case they were called upon to take in these animals.

Gallery: The Gulf oil spill's eco-casualites

After recognizing that people in her community were feeling the same way, Beatty and the FWMA organized a volunteer day and opened their doors to locals who wanted to help out.

In just that one day they received roughly $19,000 in cash, supplies and free labor, including $5,400 in donations and $13,600 in labor and supplies.

Beatty believes that her community wanted to help because the wildlife is so much a part of what the state is all about.

"The whole panhandle is a rural area," Beatty said. "And that's what our livelihoods depend on. So without wildlife, we'd be very damaged."

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