While our sanctuary fills our hearts day-to-day, we understand the importance of being proactive in the protection of our environment. Since 1989, we have seen many natural and man-made disasters that have impacted our local wildlife and their natural habitats. Our mission is to be available to provide immediate help and relief to the damaged areas throughout the Gulf South, and empower locals with the skillset to help.
During Hurricane Katrina, Clearwater evacuated many of its animals. Staff stayed to care for those too fragile to evacuate. After the hurricane, Clearwater continued caring for wildlife and companion animals. Ironically, the massive aviary at Clearwater was temporarily put in service to house over 75 cats rescued from flood water until their owners could be found or they could be adopted to loving homes.
BP Oil Spill
When the devastating BP Deepwater Horizon well explosion occurred in 2010, Clearwater Sanctuary served a vital role in wildlife recovery and rehabilitation. The president of Clearwater Sanctuary, Nancy Torcson, served as Director of Oil Spill Response for the Louisiana Association of Wildlife Rehabilitators, vetting and coordinating all licensed rehabilitators applying to work at the rehab center staged to clean oiled wildlife. Clearwater staff members worked at the various Gulf outlets receiving, triaging and treating animals. Clearwater also received animals from BP which needed long term care after they were cleaned of oil.
After the historic 2016 flood, Clearwater’s contribution was to offer refuge to feral mother cats with kittens. One courageous mother was found swimming for her life with her two kittens on her back. As the kittens grew, many were transformed into friendly, adoptable cats.
The animal impact for every storm is different. Hurricane Ida hit during grey squirrel birthing season, blowing nests out of trees. Clearwater received over 600 calls for help with squirrels and admitted more than 200 of them. Rabbits, flying squirrels and raccoons were also greatly impacted, many making their way to the Sanctuary thanks to caring people who rescued them.