ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – When HEB patrons found a Porcupine in a tree in the South 14th Street parking lot, they called the professionals at Big Country Wildlife Rehab (BCWR). While their initial attempt to remove him was unsuccessful, they returned another day with a bit more help and were able to get him down.

“I think it took about ten of us but we finally got him down,” said BCWR Board secretary Sam Townsend.

While porcupines are no strangers to trees, the issue wasn’t the tree he was stuck in, it was the parking lot. This is why Townsend said they relocated him to a piece of local land with ponds, trees, and a lot less asphalt.

“So definitely better than an HEB parking lot,” Townsend said.

This is the goal of every relocation they take on, to get animals back into their natural habitat where they can contribute to the ecosystem rather than just dodging cars.

“It all plays a role right and if you remove one. Kind of like a chain, if you break the chain you break the cycle and it all collapses,” said BCWR founder and Executive Director Jennifer Klein-Peter.

This non-profit was founded out of necessity. Klein-Peter, a nurse by trade, took in and nursed a few orphaned skunks back to health on her Taylor County land in 2021. She did this after finding that the nearest Wildlife Rehab center was more than two hours away.

“We are definitely serving a great purpose out here for native wildlife,” Klein-Peter said.

While their main purpose is to return wildlife to the wild, not all animals are able to survive on their own. This is where the educational component comes in with their un-releasable animals like their Opossum Oscar, who was found drowning in a swimming pool and raised by a family before being surrendered. And Kotie, a coyote that was found with a broken jaw and no way to eat solid foods.

Kotie the Coyote

“When our kids see these animals up close and personal, they can see they’re not as scary as people make them out to be,” Klein-Peter explained.

Oscar the Opossum

Through their work, and other organizations like them, people in the Big Country can learn to live a little closer with our woodland creature friends like skunks, possums, and even predators – all contributing to the same cycle.