Sixty-five miles from Aspen is a truly outstanding lady, Nanci Limbach, who should be voted the "Woman of the Year." Why? I learned a few years ago about this woman in Silt who has such an unconditional love for animals that she has devoted the past years of her life to them. These are wild animals, large or small, from raptors to bears. They are ailing in some way, whether orphaned or injured by automobile or wounded in the wild.
Nanci receives no private or governmental funding and therefore depends solely on contributions. I learned that besides her and her husband's monetary contributions, outside funds are necessary and appreciated. The funds are used for food and to maintain a full wildlife-only veterinary hospital, build cages for birds and mammals, and very importantly to provide educational programs. Nanci, along with caring for the animals, also visits schools in her ardent attempt to educate our youth. Her facility also include classroom where students from local schools come to learn firsthand about Colorado wildlife.
Nanci works closely with the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Game but is not financially supported by them. Most of the wildlife she receives is brought to her by these two agencies. The rehabilitation part of the facility is closed to the public, by law, as this allows the animals to have as little contact or exposure to people as possible. This facility is not a zoo. It is a place where injured or orphaned wildlife can get help and be returned to the wild.
Only parts of the facility are open to the public and recently I was granted permission to visit. A deer fawn was recovering from a hernia operation and numerous wounds. The tawny deer licked my hand and poked her nose into my pocket, apparently thinking I had her bottle. Three peregrine falcon wings had been broken and were healing. They would soon be released. As I watched Nanci place food at the feeding stations, one of the falcons flew directly toward us making a wide circle as if to say, "Thank you, I'm ready to fly."
There are several animals that are permanent residents that the public can view. These include two mountain lions and three bobcats, all of which were confiscated from people that had them illegally as pets. It brought tears to my eyes knowing that these magnificent animals had been declawed by their previous owners and would never see freedom. In sharp contrast, the foundation is caring for three wild born mountain lion youngsters that had been starving and had numerous injuries when they were admitted several months ago. These cats will soon gain their freedom and once again be in their proper place in the wild.
Anyone interested in helping with this worthy cause can write to: Pauline S. Schneegas Wildlife Foundation, 5945 Country Road 346, Silt, CO 81652 - or contact Nanci Limbach at 970-876-5676.