Region: Rio Grande Valley
Topics: Wildlife rehabilitation, Education, Art
Mrs. Umphres is a state- and federally-licensed wildlife
rehabilitator who has run Zapata Wildlife Rescue since 1987. The
rescue center feeds, shelters, heals, and attempts to re-release as
many as 200 sick and injured wild animals each year. The animals
that are brought to the center have typically been shot, or run over,
tangled in fishing tackle, hurt by powerlines, or orphaned. Mrs.
Umphres has dealt with a variety of animals there, including deer,
bobcats, gray fox, feral hogs, javelina, beaver, Swainson's hawks,
Harris hawks, falcons, pelicans, ducks, geese, great horned owls,
vultures, and even a rare red-billed tropic bird and an exotic Nile
monitor lizard. Care for these animals requires drugs, surgical
services, hay for bedding, tarps for cover, a variety of food (chicken
scratch, cracked corn, sweet potatoes, apples, dog food, cat food,
chicken and turkey drum sticks, etc.), and a good deal of
improvisation and creative partnering.
In addition to her work at Zapata
Wildlife Rescue, Mrs. Umphres has also been active with a local
environmental group, Zapata County Nature Conservation Society, which
she has served as vice president. Mrs. Umphres has spoken out on
behalf of the Society against the rate and unfettered kind of
development created by the North American Free Trade Agreement along
the border, and successfully argued in 1995 for the shutdown of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture's
Animal Damage Control program in Zapata, which had been trapping
and poisoning local wildlife.
In additional to her rehab and advocacy
efforts, Mrs. Umphres has also been working on educational outreach.
She provided a summer environmental and art education program at the
Zapata County Public Library from 1986 through 1991, and has written a
column, "Zapata Wild", for the monthly journal,
LareDos, since 1995.
February 24, 2006
Reels 2369 and 2370