You helped protect 900 birds from the Black Forest Fire

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When the Black Forest Fire blazed across Colorado last June, The Gabriel Foundation, which cares for nearly 900 homeless birds at its Elizabeth, Colo., aviary and adoption center, asked the Petfinder Foundation for help. Because birds have such delicate respiratory systems, their lives were in danger from the region’s polluted air — so we rushed a $1,500 disaster grant to the group so it could buy air filters that would protect members of their flock like Monet (below).

Tillie & Monet July 2013 - edited for web

Monet, a female Hybrid Macaw, was helped by our grant to The Gabriel Foundation.

CEO and President Julie Murad tells us the aviary was 30 miles from the fire’s epicenter. The days after it broke out were harrowing for her staff, who were tasked with not only protecting the birds already in the group’s care, but with protecting new birds they were taking in from displaced evacuees.

“Due to the severity of the heat and fire-generated winds, no fresh air could be provided to our birds while the fires raged,” Murad tells us. “The five aviary and adoption center buildings are not fully air conditioned, and all fresh air vents were sealed due to the smoke danger while we determined whether or not evacuation would be necessary. Due to the ultra-efficient respiratory systems of parrots and related birds, they are highly susceptible to airborne toxins or pollutants, and death is often the outcome.”

Smoke from the Black Forest Fire encroached upon the Gabriel Foundation's aviary. (Photo: Gabriel Foundation)

Ominous smoke from the Black Forest Fire (Photo: The Gabriel Foundation)

Thankfully, with help from our grant-funded filters, The Gabriel Foundation was able to keep its birds safe.

Air filters kept the birds safe. (Photo: The Gabriel Foundation)

Air filters kept the birds safe. (Photo: The Gabriel Foundation)

“It was a frightening five days with near lock down at our aviary and adoption center as more birds were evacuated by owners or law enforcement personnel and brought to TGF for safety,” Murad said. “The air purifiers purchased with this grant from Petfinder Foundation became an essential part of our birds’ survival.”

Hundreds of birds are waiting for homes at The Gabriel Foundation; learn more about adopting one here.

Follow the Petfinder Foundation on Facebook so you can learn how to help pets when disasters strike!