AZ Game and Fish launches new text donation campaign

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The Arizona Game and Fish Department is trying to raise money to help care for baby animals that have come into their care. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The Arizona Game and Fish Department is trying to raise money to help care for baby animals that have come into their care. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
People can text CRITTER to 41444 to donate to the Arizona Game and Fish Department. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) People can text CRITTER to 41444 to donate to the Arizona Game and Fish Department. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
SRP crews rescued a baby otter and it went to a Game and Fish facility. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) SRP crews rescued a baby otter and it went to a Game and Fish facility. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Every dollar raised goes a long way in helping these critters in need. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Every dollar raised goes a long way in helping these critters in need. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is trying to raise money to help care for baby animals that have come into their care.

"We have had a lot of calls and a lot of baby wildlife come into our wildlife center," AZGFD Education Chief Kellie Tharp said.

In the last few weeks, they've taken in a mule deer fawn, a baby bobcat and most recently a baby otter.

"SRP (Salt River Project) staff found this 3-week-old otter. It was in a drying canal and it was covered in fleas, anemic, dehydrated and in really bad shape," said Tharp.

[READ MORE: SRP employees rescue baby otter from Arizona Canal]

The animals are initially sent to The Wildlife Center at Adobe Mountain in north Phoenix where they begin their care.

Some go on to other facilities. The otter, for example, was transferred to Out of Africa.

Others though, like Hunter, an adult bobcat, become long term residents, used for education and that's where most of their budget goes is to take care of those resident animals.

The overall costs of caring for the orphaned, abandoned, ill or wildlife management case animals that come in can add up to thousands of dollars.

It's extra money Game and Fish does not have, so they are trying to raise it.

"We just launched a donation campaign where you can text 'CRITTER' to 41444 where you can contribute to the care of these animals," Tharp said.

The Be a Hero for Wildlife text campaign has already raised $1,800.

"Right now we're focusing on these three animals and off-setting the cost for them," said Tharp.

Every dollar raised goes a long way in helping these critters in need.

Another way to contribute is to help keep wildlife wild. That means if you come across a baby bird or animal, leave it alone. Tharp says often times the mother is still nearby and is planning to return.

There are times, though, when intervention may be necessary 

"If an animal is definitely injured or you can see it's in grave danger, it's sick, give us a call. We'll ask some questions and figure out the best thing to do," she said.

The following are numbers you can call if you come across wildlife that appears to need help based on your location.

  • Flagstaff (928) 774-5045 
  • Kingman (928) 692-7700 
  • Mesa (480) 981-9400 
  • Phoenix – Main (602) 942-3000 
  • Pinetop (928) 367-4281 
  • Tucson (520) 628-5376 
  • Yuma (928) 342-0091

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