OAK ISLAND — Sea Biscuit Wildlife Shelter and the hundreds of birds it serves will soon have a new home.
The animal rescue, started by Mary Ellen Rogers in her Oak Island basement in 2007, announced its plans to expand with a new facility.
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Adjacent to Oak Island’s William S. “Bill” Smith Park, Sea Biscuit Wildlife Shelter will sign a 20-year lease with Duke Energy on Sunday for its new facility. The new facility will feature an educational walk-through, open to the public, and an animal hospital.
Last year, 410 wild birds (including 55 raptors and 37 pelicans) were treated in Roger’s home, which doubles as Sea Biscuit Wildlife Shelter. She turned the basement of her “regular island lot” into an animal rehabilitation center over a decade ago.
With U.S. Fish and Wildlife permits, Rogers and her team of volunteers treat wild birds out of the shelter. But with the expanded facility, she doesn’t want to turn away any more possums, squirrels, bunnies, ducks, chickens or baby deer.
“I envision us taking in all kinds of small mammals,” she said.
The expansion announcement comes after a two-year process, Rogers said. With help from Duke Energy spokesperson Karen Williams and Oak Island’s town manager David Kelly, she settled on a four-acre, undeveloped waterfront tract on Dutchman Creek. “I just needed more space,” she said. “Because what I’ve got here is just not enough room for all of these animals.”
The four-acre parcel, owned by Duke Energy, was obtained when the Brunswick Nuclear Plant was being constructed in the 60s and 70s while its outfall canal was built, according to Williams.
Accessible through the town’s park, Sea Biscuit Wildlife Shelter’s public facility will feature a walk-around trail to see caged, non-releasable hawks and owls, educational material on birds and binoculars, Rogers said.
The financial details aren’t all worked out yet. Sea Biscuit Wildlife Shelter relies on grants and donations and will be looking for help as the project moves forward. Duke Energy’s lease, Rogers said, stipulates that Sea Biscuit must begin operating within a five-year period.
For more information, or to make a donation to the Sea Biscuit Wildlife Shelter, visit the rescue group’s Facebook page.
Update Jan. 15: This article has been updated with additional information provided by Duke Energy.
Check out the future site of Sea Biscuit Wildlife Shelter’s expanded rehabilitation facility, next to Oak Island’s Bill Smith Park:
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