‘They need help and there’s nothing I can do’: Wildlife rehabilitation center forced to close

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 3:24 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - A center created to care for injured wildlife in Myrtle Beach is forced to close its doors.

Officials with the Myrtle Beach Wildlife Rehabilitation Center said they simply don’t have enough space to continue to take in new animals.

Kimberly Cerimele, the center’s founder and executive director, started the non-profit wildlife program in 2019. It’s currently the only one of its kind in Horry County.

“Either injured, orphaned they [people] can bring them [animals] to us, we will care for them, we’ll treat them until they’re ready to be released back into the wild,” Cerimele said.

She mentioned there used to be a veterinary office that treated wildfire in the area. However, the program stopped last year.

The next closest licensed wildlife centers are over an hour outside of Myrtle Beach in Georgetown and Hartsville.

Right now, Cerimele operates the wildlife center out of a home, nursing all kinds of injured wildlife - from squirrels and possums to owls and swans - back to health.

The center cares for more than 100 animals on a daily basis. However, they no longer have the space to take in new animals in need of medical care and can’t afford a larger facility.

“It’s hard because I know there’s animals out there right now and they need help and there’s nothing I can do,” Cerimele said.

She added they would like to build a medical clinic and more enclosures to properly rehabilitate animals.

With the increase of development in the area, Cerimele said more wildlife is being displaced. Those injured will go untreated without an adequate facility.

“You have to have space indoors while they’re [animals] in critical condition and the outdoor enclosures to properly train them so they are set up for success to return to the wild,” Cerimele said.

She noted they’re looking into applying for grants to reopen the center inside a building. They’ve also created a Go Fund Me if community members would like to help.

“I don’t want to have to turn down animals,” Cerimele said.

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