All Things Wild, North Georgia
To contact Kim Mross, send her a message via Facebook page called All Things Wild, North Georgia
Kim Mross can be described as the female equivalent of the late Steve Irwin, fighting fearlessly for education and conservation of all types of wild animals. And sometimes she even puts her life on the line to do her job — all for free.
“It’s all about saving lives. I’ll do it ‘til the day I die,” the Canton woman said.
Through her home-based business, All Things Wild, North Georgia, Mross is called to help or capture wild animals. On a day-to-day basis, she could be assisting birds of prey with broken wings or rescuing fawns that people pick up in the woods and accidentally kidnap.
“People know who I am and what I do,” she said. “So I get called in for everything. I just don’t have a lot of fear of things. So they call me to handle it.”
And Mross always catches what she sets out to get, except once. A vulture had broken a wing and was being fed by people near Dahlonega, which isn’t too far for her to travel to help an injured animal. Her business is based in Canton, but she travels across the state of Georgia.
Mross’ friend, Heather Tierney, went along to assist with catching the raptor.
“She does the dirty work,” Tierney said.
While both women headed to Lumpkin County to catch and treat the bird, they didn’t succeed after chasing him around for a while. But that does not stop them from working together.
The duo met two years ago and bonded over their love of wildlife. While Mross focuses on more dangerous animals, Tierney advocates for animals, mostly canines.
With her specific skill set, Mross responds to call from all across the state. She said she can be anywhere at a moment’s notice to offer her expertise and face any kind of situation.
“She’s so fearless,” Tierney said. “She does anything she can.”
Last month, her dedication was tested when she was called about an animal hoarding case involving snakes.
The petite 5-foot-4 woman was the only person who ventured into the “dark, filth-filled trailer” to help the snakes inside, Mross said.
“I had to pass several large manly men to get in there. They wouldn’t step a foot in there,” the 45-year-old said. “The guys said, ‘Are you here to get the snakes?’ and I said ‘I am!’”
Without any knowledge of the species of snakes inside including whether they were venomous or not, Mross entered the home. She successfully saved a small Dumerils boa and an emaciated 5-foot red tail boa. Neither is venomous.
“They both deserved to live,” Mross said.
The judge presiding over the case agreed. But he wanted the reptiles returned to the wild.
That scared Mross. She said the cold-blooded reptiles would not have survived the first frost because the snakes are not native to Georgia. Plus their presence would wreak havoc on the small birds and mammals in the ecosystem.
Instead, both snakes are on the witness protection program list. Since the snakes were deemed neglected, they were signed over to Mross. She handed them over to a snake specialist who could nurse them back to health.
Helping out in these kinds of cases is part of Mross’ profession.
A mostly self-taught animal expert, Mross said she learned from seminars, experts and others about how to properly rescue different types of animals.
“It is a way for me to help the animals and educate people at the same (time) to learn to live with them and conserve what we have left,” she said.
But her expertise is not just from books. She has practical skills with animals after growing up on a farm in middle Georgia.
“There was never a shortage of animals,” she said.
Mross’ said her father took her hunting and fishing. She recalled one time when they were hiking and spotted a snake next to the trail.
“My dad looked at me and said, ‘There is a snake up here, just walk past him and he won’t bother you if you don’t bother him,’” she said. “I never had that fear instilled me to fear snakes.”
She has passed down those same lessons to her 14-year-old son, Cade Webster.
“I am raising him to also catch and help wildlife,” she said. “When he’s not in school, he hits the road and helps me.”
For the next few months, Mross will head to South Georgia to assist the Orianne Society, an organization that specializes in the conservation of reptiles, especially the Gopher tortoise and the Eastern Indigo snake.
“Both are federally protected and endangered,” Mross said. “I’m not sure of the whole scope of this visit, but it will involve all or some seed gathering of native grasses, burn control of Long Leaf Pine Forest, data of snakes and tortoises on the property.”