ANTIGO, Wis. -

The number of wildlife groups caring for injured animals in Wisconsin has dropped by half over the last decade according to state agency numbers, putting pressure on places like the Raptor Education Group Inc. in northern Wisconsin to meet continued demand for animals requiring treatment.

The Department of Natural Resources reports there were 225 wildlife rehabilitators in 2001. That dropped to 113 in 2012.

The DNR's wildlife rehabilitation expert Mandy Cyr attributed the decrease to the declining economy and changes in 2006 to permits that perhaps led some smaller groups to stop.

Marge Gibson of Raptor Education Group in Antigo says its avian patients and budget have doubled over the last decade and she and her husband have had to dip into their retirement savings to keep up with demands.

Raptor is a general term for birds of prey including eagles, owls and falcons.