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Your Fur Coat Needs to Go to Rehab
Donated hats, coats, and stoles help injured and orphaned wildlife get all warm and fuzzy.

Taking fur from wild animals was once needed to keep our relatively fur-less bodies warm, and in more recent centuries, wearing pelts became a symbol for wealth and glamour (despite the cost to wildlife). But now a humane organization is giving fur back to the animal kingdom.

A recent campaign by Born Free USA asked fur owners to donate their old garments to help rehabilitate injured or orphaned wildlife—a much better use for them, if you ask me.

“The furs are being used to replicate the warmth, comfort, and stimulation that young orphaned animals would have otherwise experienced from their mothers, siblings, and their natural environment,” says Adam Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA. The animal advocacy organization sent 100-plus furs to wildlife rehab centers across the United States with awwww-inducing results. Seriously, your grandma’s old stole never looked so good…

The Wildlife Rescue Center outside of St. Louis treats between 900 and 1,100 cottontails a year. After giving birth, mother rabbits pull fur from their bellies to make a nest—which is why turning this donated hat inside out was perfect for a lil’ litter of cottontail kits.

In the same St. Louis rehab center where the baby bunnies are sitting pretty, this opossum clutches this stole just as he would cling to his marsupial mother’s back in the wild.

Donated garments “enthralled” a bobcat kitten at the Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation in Kendalia, Texas, says founder Lynn Cuny. Upon receiving her furry freebies, the orphaned cat rolled, sniffed, and pawed, before finally throwing herself into them. Cuny and her staff often return animals to the wild, so they don’t want their patients becoming too accustomed to humans. Cuddling up in muffs and playing with fur “toys” helps bring out the animals’ wild sides.

An orphaned coyote pup loves her new fur—and not because it matches her own coat...

You might not be able to tell, but this is an orphaned gray fox, found on a roadside in rural Missouri. Generally foxes prefer staying out of sight, which is exactly what she seems to be doing.

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image of Susan Cosier
Susan Cosier is OnEarth's Midwest correspondent. She previously worked at Audubon magazine, and has written for a number of science and environmental publications. She's a graduate of New York University's science journalism program. MORE STORIES ➔
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Fur is literally murder! I hope that people will stop buying fur and fur trim products. I once watched some undercover footage from a fur farm and I'll never forget the fear in the raccoon dogs' and minks eyes as they were killed. Some were event skinned alive. We should really stop exploiting animals.