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The Gabriel Foundation: Disaster Grant Report

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The money provided to The Gabriel Foundation by this grant was used to purchase additional ultra-high efficiency HEPA air purifiers/filters to provide extreme filtration to lessen airborne particulates that were a life threatening danger to companion parrots and related birds at The Gabriel Foundation's aviary and adoption center during the Black Forest wildfires in Colorado in June 2013, that whose epicenter was about 30 miles from our location.

This grant provided lifesaving whole room air circulation and ultra-fine particulates filtration to remove airborne toxins/particulates that were a life threatening danger to our flock of nearly 900 birds. Due to the severity of the heat and fire generated winds, no fresh air could be provided to our birds while the fires raged. 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. These additional air purifiers provided complete air exchange and filtration to cleanse the air of particulates. Removing these life-threatening toxins from the air was critical to our flock's lives. We added four more air filters to the dozen that were already working overtime. Without the filters made possible through this grant, it is highly probable that many birds would have lost their lives.

How many pets did this grant help?

856 parrots and other companion birds

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Some Macaw species are highly susceptible to a form of avian asthma, much like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in humans. When diagnosed with this condition, birds must be carefully monitored and kept safe from all airborne contaminants. Chipper, Arthur, Kona, Monet, Tillie, Zoe, Disney and Merlin are each Macaws that have COPD. In 2009, Disney and his owner were evacuated from the extreme wildfires near Boulder, Colo. During that time, the bird’s owner lost all of his belongings, his home and quickly evacuated his birds and dogs. He brought the birds to TGF for their safety and health. During the next year, Disney met and fell for Merlin, a Scarlet Macaw, and the two birds soon became fast friends. When it was time for Disney’s owner to be relocated to another home, Disney went home with him and so did Merlin, who was adopted by Disney’s owner. Fast forward a couple of years, and the owner and birds were again caught in a wildfire, this time outside of Boulder, Colorado. During the fire, the birds and owner were evacuated and the birds again came to us for care. Their owner sustained severe lung damage from smoke inhalation when he rescued his birds and dogs from his property. He was hospitalized for several months and ultimately doctors determined that his lungs were too fragile to ever live with a companion parrot again, and both birds were relinquished to TGF. This summer devastating wildfires broke out about 30 miles from our aviary and adoption center from the Black Forest wildfire. Disney, Merlin and the other birds were kept safe as a result of the safety net provided by the additional air filters. 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. The air purifiers purchased with this grant from Petfinder Foundation became an essential part of our birds’ survival.

Further Reading