Thursday, August 2, 2018

Four Seasons of North Idaho

Here in North Idaho the four seasons are not what you traditionally expect; we may call them by their formal names of winter, spring, summer and fall/autumn but we locals all know them by their common names. We have a snow season followed by a frigid & icy season. This quickly gives way to rain & mud season and finally the road construction & fire season.

It is true that a forest fire may be considered beneficial because they promote regrowth and control pathogens; it also releases carbon and air borne particles into the atmosphere. Air pollution affects water, soil and leads to deforestation. Fires threaten or consume homes, lives and precious resources. The native wildlife is scrambling to outrun the flames and still locate water, food, shelter, all while trying to identify where the predators are located.

While we humans have no control over the weather or road conditions and we cannot predict lightning strikes, we can and must accept responsibilities for our actions during these dry hot days. Please remember that the human caused fires have started from fireworks, slash piles, cigarettes, sparks from trailer chains, parking or driving hot cars in tall grass, chainsaws, improperly extinguished camp fires, & arson. Under the right conditions, even expended shell casings from target practice can spark a blaze.    

So far, this year, we have been fortunate and our human neighbors have been paying attention to their actions. In recent years, the forest fires have been right in our back yards – burning on all sides – barely contained. The smoke so thick many become house bound for weeks, the sun at full midday height barely illuminating the sky. Various reputable sourced surveys report that there has been a change in the fire seasons: there have been more fires, larger complex fires, and longer seasons.

By paying attention to our actions (and those of our neighbors) we can make sure that our wild native neighbors do not suffer. The temperate forest foundation reports that 88% of fires annually are caused by humans through careless acts or arson. While no less devastating, natural causes amount to only 12 %.

Please be a good neighbor to our wild native neighbors. Their very survival is reliant upon us to be good stewards. If you find a wild animal in distress please contact your professional wildlife rehabilitation facility as soon as possible. Call American Heritage Wildlife Foundation volunteers at 208.266.1488.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

2018 July Newsletter


Wildlife rehabilitation is the act of providing care for the injured or orphaned wild animals. If wildlife rehabilitation were easy everyone would do it!
The reality is wildlife rehabilitation is physically and emotionally demanding. State and Federal permits are required. The standard release rate is 35%. 
The space, time, and money issues that  wildlife rehabilitators struggle with every day are at times overwhelming. These conditions can lead to frustration and burn out. The animal care, basic work load and maintaining a daily flow are challenging but quickly become debilitating when there is a lack of funding or manpower. 
AHWF is 100% volunteer supported… let that sink in a minute… over 3,000 hours are recorded each year. You number crunchers have already figured this is over 50 hours each week for all 52 weeks. AHWF cannot exist without your support! Will you give one hour to talk with friends, what about a few hours to encourage memberships? Will you sign up to volunteer and help educate our community, talk with patrons, get involved with projects, or accomplish basic chores such as laundry and food prep? 
The wildlife patients are depending on you to give them a helping hand. Call 208.266.1488 for details.     


We were so eager to let you know of all the events and ways to get involved with our group we sent this newsletter out a few weeks early. I cannot believe we have already had more than two dozen activities and events take place and we have almost a dozen more scheduled before the year is out. The one thing they all have in common is you and folks like you.
Join our volunteers at the Sandpoint Library on the 30th of June 11AM for a presentation about wild animal babies. Independence Day we are in Clark Fork with facepainting & carnival games. There are a few more ‘meet the neighbors programs lined up. A fundraiser at IPA takes place September 12th. The clean comedy show & silent auction is September 15th at the Memorial Center. Experience a one hour show with Tyler Boeh. Tickets are $20. The fall event include the second highway clean up and the 3rd annual Scarecrow contest at Hickey Farms.     


AHWF is the North Idaho nonprofit facility to call when you have a native wild animal questions or when you see a wild animal is in need of assistance. Each year we respond to over 300 calls each year. We provide care for an average of 100 individual animals annually.   
We are working to expand our permits and care for orphaned black bear cubs. We are also working to expand our educational aspect by creating the first nature center. We will begin construction on our interactive nature walk soon. This trail will be allow you to discover the native plants and animals. You can get involved with  construction of the trail, or once completed help maintain the trail. We also need volunteers to become the nature guides for these scheduled tours.

Based upon available time & commitment to our organization, I pledge to raise $__ by ___.            

                                                                                                                         (Amount)     (Date)

To reach my goal, I will:  

__Make a personal gift of $______
__Send a letter soliciting my network for a gift 
__Send an email soliciting my network for a gift
__Host a gathering for my friends, network
__Secure in-kind support for an existing budget item
__Call existing donors to thank them for past support
__Call existing donors to follow up on a mailed appeal.
__Attend and sell tickets to  special events
__Join staff for a solicitation meeting of a donor/prospect
__Join the board or directors
__Allot time in my schedule to volunteer regularly
__Contact AHWF monthly to identify which ‘wish list’ items are needed
__ Write social media posts and articles for the newsletter
__ Get involved with grant research and writing
__ Organize events or Coordinate activities
__ Promote the variety of available AHWF merchandise (or shopping programs) to friends, network


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

2018 Events and activities for AHWF

We are able to do what we do because of your generosity. Here is the listing of 2018 events we have arranged so to date.  If you can lend a hand we appreciate your contribution. 
Jan 13 – library presentation “nocturnal neighbors” 2pm
Feb 10 – library presentation “waterfowl”  2pm
Mar 10 - library presentation “oh rats”2 pm
Breadboost online fundraising challenge – cancelled
Know the neighbors presentation at Sandpoint - March 8
Osprey event at Panida Theater – March 16 (2 showings)
April 14 – library presentation “What Bugs You” 2pm
April 16 – bring in aluminum cans to be recycled
April 22 – Earthday celebration @ farmin park 12pm
Open house/volunteer orientation – to be announced
May = Spring Highway clean up
May 3 – IdahoGives at evansbrotherscoffee 8am and ipa 430pm
May 5 – Know the Neighbors activities at the Bonner County Museum 11am?
May 11 – ‘wild babies’ presentation at PAS 11am
May 12 – library presentation “indicator species”2pm
May 18 – bingo fundraiser at Clark Fork Center 6pm
June 24  – 7B Sundayat Schweitzer Resort
July 4 – Independence Day celebration at Clark Fork 
Sept 12 – Fundraiser at IPA with Odell Brewing Company 430-7
Sept 15 (tba) – 3rd annual Comedy Night & Silent Auction530/6pm
Sept –Fall Highway clean up
Oct – 3rd annual Scarecrow Contest
Nov – Giving Tuesday
Dec – Christmas Booth at the craft fair

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

check out our informative video on YouTube.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Wildlife Emergency Services blog: Duckling reunion

Wildlife Emergency Services blog: Duckling reunion: By Deanna Barth, WES San Benito I received a call from a Ridgemark community resident around 6pm tonight. Her husband had res...
Community Cats = Feral Freedom
                                                                                                                         s.casey photo
What are Community Cats?
Community Cats is the umbrella term for any unowned cat. The cat may be feral or unsocialized. It may have been, at one point in time, a household pet. These animals are often fed by members of that community. Other ‘community cats’ survive without human intervention. They are free roaming. These cats have feral freedom.

TNR is the acronym for the Trap Neuter Release program. This is a program that is promoted by domestic animal shelters. National Geographic reported in a December 2012 article titled the threat of invasive species – in an interview with Dr. Michael Hutchins “Cat advocacy groups have sold TNR as an effective way to control feral cat populations”. …the movement is to stop accepting stray and feral cats at shelters, to prevent land owners from controlling feral cats by euthanizing – in essence to treat domestic feral cats as if they were protected wildlife. The motive at animal shelters seems to be to reduce the population of free roaming domestic cats, therefore allowing the cats they have in their facility a better chance at finding an adoptive home.

The monies to fund such an undertaking is due to a major pet store chain giving grants. More than $26 million has been given away since 2009. The public funds this mission. The store seems to be only interested in having responsible and proud pet owners buy the products in their store. Unfortunately, many pet owners do not think their cats are fierce predators. Very few people think of the devastation that wild ‘community cats’ cause on the native wild life while trying to find food and simply survive.

Domestic animal shelters and the TNR campaigns do not address the issues that this cat must face while in the wild. Trap then spay or neuter then release a feral cat back into the wild is not humane! The animal which has been domesticated for thousands of years is still exposed to the harsh environments and temperature changes. A myriad of diseases still exist: Feline Immunodeficiancy Virus, Feline Leukemia Virus, Feline Panleukopenia Virus, Rabies, Toxocara, Toxoplasmosis, Hookworm, Murine Typhus, Bartonella henslae, plus zoonotic risks such as Cutaneous Larval Migrans, Toxoplasma gandii, Tularemia, Plague. Zoonotic diseases are those passed from animal to human through direct contact with fecal matter as well as scratches & bites. 1/3 of US rabies post exposure prophylactic treatments are due to free roaming cats.     

In the course of a day these cats, even though they cannot reproduce are still exposed to dangers while completing simple tasks of survival. Common activities such as crossing roads puts the animal in harm’s way to be killed or worse yet maimed and left to suffer until starving to death. Other dangers are the infections inflicted by other feral cats during fights over territory or food. Simple acts such as climbing trees – to find food such as nestling birds may cause the animal to fall from great heights. Even the search to find shelter can be fatal – entering a crawl space which is inhabited by conspecifics or being trapped in that space when it collapses.  

Another issue that neither domestic animals shelters nor pet store chains address is the effect their TNR campaign has on native wildlife. The 5,000 professional wildlife rehabilitators across the nation see the devastating reality of domestic animals preying upon local wildlife. Perform your own internet search: American Bird Conservancy Cats Indoors! Campaign, Toronto Wildlife Centre Keep Animals Safe, Avian Haven The poacher approach, USFWS State of the Birds 2009, National Geographic/Daily News – Hello Kitty please don’t kill me. Watch the 2012 ‘kitty cam’ from University of Georgia at   Watch ‘a day in the life of a traveling feline’ from the wildlife society news at They compiled more than 2,000 hours of video footage. You will see the devastation.

The average house cat kills 2.1 animals per week (each 17 hours outside = 1 death (birds, lizards, snakes, voles, chipmunks, squirrels). Only 23%  of the kills were brought back home – hence the misconception that my cat doesn’t kill. 

It is estimated that nearly 4 billion animals are killed annually! The 2013 report by Dr. P.Marra, S. Loss and T. Will estimates up to 3.7 billion birds and 20.7 billion mammals are killed annually. Outdoor cats are the single greatest source of human caused mortality for birds and mammals –Robert Johns 2013 report from smithsonian conservation biology institute & usfws (fws) scientists.   

Sidenote: In England, beforeWorld War 2 started, rabbits were valuable and encouraged to be kept since they would in return provide wool and a food source.  However, out of fear for the wellbeing of the beloved pets 400,000 dogs and cats were killed. Why do we not show this same level of compassion?

Common MYTHs and FACTs

MYTH: It is beneficial for cats to kill small rodents like mice. Truth = rodents are a  critical part of the ecosystem.  Native predators (owls, hawks, coyotes) rely upon them. 

MYTH: It is natures way for cats to kill. False = Cats have been domesticated four thousand years ago and brought to the western hemisphere from the eastern hemisphere. They are not part of the natural wild species mix in North & South America. Their numbers are exponentially higher than natural. Predation disrupts the balance of wild ecosystems.

MYTH: Well fed cats don’t kill wildlife. False. it is hunting instinct, not appetite that leads to the kill.

MYTH: Cats with a bell is enough to deter. False! Cats are capable of moving without alerting prey. Survey showed that belled actually kill more than those without.

MYTH: My cat only plays with the animals.  False. Internal hemorrhaging, punctured air sacs, bacteria from bite and claws are all side effects of cat attacks. 

MYTH: Neutering stops the killing/They only kill a few – why make an issue. With over 100 million outdoor cats in North America, domestic cat predation has disastrous effects. Even if only a handful each but studies show 50 to 100 per year not unusual. 

MYTH: My cat needs to hunt; it’s cruel to keep inside. False require stimulation easily met by play. 

FACT: the dangers to cats include cars, poisonings, diseases, predation, traps and human abuse, parasites, displacement, overpopulation. Life as ‘wild cat’ is cruel. 

We at American Heritage Wildlife Foundation find the photos disturbing; we also feel we must present all aspects of what it means to be a community cat. It is up to you the reader to decide what you feel is right. Information about how we are keeping North Idaho WILD can be found on our webpage www.ahwf.or or call one of our volunteers at 266.1488. AHWF is 100% volunteer and entirely community supported.