Morning Sun
  • Critter migration comes with habitat renovation

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  • The Morning Sun
    Moving is stressful.
    Charlie the macaw screeched each time he heard the voice of Nature Reach Program Coordinator Delia Lister, as she and a host of volunteers made trip after trip moving critters from the Nature Reach area in Heckert-Wells to a temporary new home in Hartman Hall next door as their
    Lister said her goal was to stress the animals as little as possible in the process.
    "The non-venomous snakes we’ll carry, because I don’t want the snakes to get rattled," she said, pointing out the wheels on the cages, which would have created a shaky ride as they were transported from one location to another.
    Lister did clarify that their venomous counterparts would have no option other than riding across in cages, and mode of transport, as well as final location, varied by species.
    "The fish, I had to take in buckets over to Claw Paws, and they’re baby-sitting my piranha," Lister said.
    However, second to Charlie, the mammals likely struggled most with the transition.
    "Our prairie dogs have been scared out of their minds because they don’t get moved or handled very often," Lister continued.
    Some of the animals do travel with Lister, who takes them on the road for presentations, but for others the move was a new and frightening experience.
    Lister said for many of the animals, Heckert-Wells is the only home they’ve ever known, but the temporary move is necessary in order for some intense maintenance to be done to the home, which houses several of Pittsburg State University’s science programs.
    The building’s HVAC system is now several decades old and PSU has been squirreling away funds to take on the approximately $4.4 million project of replacing HVAC and adding a dedicated exhaust system and lab hoods.
    Lister said that while the animals are out she hopes to also have painting, refurbishing of cabinets and other work done within the Nature Reach area.
    The project will be completed throughout the summer months and the majority of the animals will return upon completion.
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