MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — A first-of-its-kind wildlife rescue center is now up and running in Myrtle Beach.

There’s a lot more wildlife than you think on the Grand Strand, and when they got hurt or sick, there was nowhere to take them — until now.

Kimberly Cerimele, executive director and founder of the Myrtle Beach Wildlife Rescue Center, started out as a wildlife photographer but said she wanted to be closer to the animals.

“There was absolutely nothing here,” Cerimele said. “There was an animal hospital that took in wildlife but didn’t necessarily rehab the wildlife. We get a lot of calls about injured possums, babies, squirrels, I do a lot of bunnies. Most of ours are cat or dog-attack or hit by car.” 

There are the swans in your neighborhood ponds, the squirrels bouncing around your backyard trees, and, of course, the geese on the streets. Cerimele said she sees a lot of birds with fishing-related injuries.

“We do a lot of swans [with] fishing line and lures,” she said. “That’s one of our biggest battles right now in Myrtle Beach with the animals. They get wrapped up, whether their wings or their legs.” 

After years of being around animals and working with them, Cerimele said it’s hard not to get attached to them. Opening the center to help rehabilitate the wildlife fulfills a dream that Cerimele said she hopes she and her team are able to continue for years to come.

Currently, Cerimele said the center is a home-based business, but she said they’re looking for land for a permanent location.

Once they get settled, she said they’ll need the help of lots of volunteers support. A GoFundMe page has been set up for anyone who wants to help out the center.

Taylor Maresca is the weekend morning anchor and morning reporter at News13. She joined the team in June 2022 after graduating from the University of Arizona. Taylor is from Houston. Follow Taylor on X, formerly Twitter, and read more of her work here.