Wetlands, retired professor offer refuge to wildlife

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Emu eggs used to fetch $100 apiece. Now, they’re worthless. After people started

releasing the ostrich-like birds, Carol Miller adopted four at her wildlife rescue.

The emus joined a menagerie of other abandoned, injured and abused animals at

Miller’s home in El Paso’s Upper Valley. People bring her baby rabbits, squirrels,

ducks, geese, songbirds and even snakes. “I’m a central drop-off for what they find,”

she said.

Miller is a licensed wildlife rehabilitator who specializes in migrating birds. She also

helps the birds and other animals at Keystone Heritage Park, one of the last

remaining wetlands along the Rio Grande. Every evening she or a volunteer heads to

the preserve to scatter day-old bread and other scraps.

Along with neighbors, Miller has fought efforts by developers and the city of El Paso

to build apartment complexes, factories, a bus station, parking lots and a dump near

the park, which is about a quarter-mile from her house. “We still have to fight to

save it as a park,” she said.

Animals are the focus of Miller’s life. They consume her time from dawn to dark, she

said.

Before retiring, Miller taught English at the University of Texas at El Paso. She

earned a doctorate in professional communications at New Mexico State University

so people would understand what she said rather than thinking she’s “some crazy

person off the street.”

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