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 www.kittycams.uga.edu   Watch ‘a day in the life of a traveling feline’ from the wildlife society news at http://news.wildlife.org. 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. www.abcbirds.org

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.         

Saturday, January 7, 2017

2016 annual report - WHAT A YEAR!



American Heritage Wildlife Foundation has the mission to conserve local wildlife through the efforts of rehabilitation of the injured or orphaned and community education. We do not receive federal, state or county funding. We exist only because of community support. We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization and a registered state nonprofit incorporation. AHWF holds federal rehabilitation permits from the US Fish and Wildlife Service for all migratory bird species and Idaho State Fish and Game rehabilitation permits for all species of birds and small non-game mammals. We are the only north Idaho facility providing care for both mammals and birds. Late autumn of 2015 we were informed by IDFG that we could begin construction on the large game enclosures and obtain the rehabilitation permits to provide care for these megafauna species. This year we received a generous contribution towards this endeavor.   

2016 Budget


EXPENSES:                                                  proposed      actual*

FundRaising & Marketing                                     1,600     5,098      

Utilities                                                                 2,000     2,332

Mission                                                               18,000    13,672                        

nature trail & classroom                                              0            0 



Memberships                                                        1,500   see Grants

Merchandise                                                            500           295     

Events & Fundraising                                           4,500        5,250

Aluminum & recycle prgs                                        500          n/a             

Grants & Donations                                           15,000     19, 855                              

Phase III Funding^                                             79,000             0

in-kind donations (exc. labor)                                               3,119


I would like to express extreme gratitude to everyone that supported AHWF in the 2016 calendar year. Because of your contributions of time, treasure and talents, this year was an incredible year. Without your generosity we could not exist. We will need our community to step up and fill some large shoes as our longstanding volunteer CPA is retiring and a three year exceptionally generous donor will sadly not be able to continue her support into 2017.  


In one word the wildlife portion of our mission can be explained – BLUR. By December 31, we had responded to 415 phone calls. This is over 100 calls more than last year. The season of wildlife care began very early, by May we had treated 16 cases. At the end of July 50 cases; August brought 18 more cases. Case #79 was checked in on November 30. The total number of cases taken in was 80 with an individual patient count of 121! Several of these patients are currently being cared for through the winter. The past several years our average has been 50 cases with less than 100 individuals. This is a 60% case load increase from last year.

We have no paid staff and we rely on our community to volunteer. In an effort to be more responsive to our community and provide round the clock care this has been our second year with a summer college intern. The importance of having more than one person during the ‘baby season’ of late May through August is crucial to the mission. The total number of hours recorded 3,700.   

There were 39 different species. 1 Downy Woodpecker, 6 Violet Green Swallow, 5 Deer Mice, 10 Fox Squirrels, 1 Northern Painted Turtle, 10 Canada Geese, 8 Raccoons, 3 Mallard Duck, 9 American Robins, 1 European Starling, 4 Common Ravens, 1 Brewers Blackbird, 1 Mountain Chickadee, 4 Northern Flickers, 13 Pine Squirrels, 8 California Quail, 1 Alligator Lizard, 1 Killdeer, 5 American Crow, 5 Least Flycatchers, 1 Wild Turkey, 1 Black- chin Hummingbird, 1 Great Blue Heron, 1 Pine Siskin, 1 Red Naped Sapsucker, 3 Muskrats, 1 Sharp Shin Hawk,  1 Chipping Sparrow, 1 Song Sparrow, 1 Barn Swallow, 3 Gray Squirrels, 1 Northern Flying Squirrel, 2 Little Brown Bats, 1 Cedar Waxwing, 1 Cottontail Rabbit, 2 American Goldfinches, 1 Yellow Headed Blackbird, and         1 Ruffed Grouse. We had a 65% release rate. (A recent national survey reported 35% is the average rate)  

Despite very limited resources each animal was provided the best care expected from our volunteers. We estimated the amount of funds required to pay, had these people been staff, would be an estimated $30,000.   

AHWF is a member with two professional wildlife rehabilitator associations; they provide a great deal of information relating to proper care. It is illegal to possess a wild animal and attempt to provide rehabilitative care without proper state and/or federal permits. Unfortunately several of the patients we admitted were the victims of well-meaning private citizens. They chose to attempt rehabilitative care first before contacting AHWF. Some we were able to restore to health, some we were not and one is still in care with an uncertain future. Please remember to spread the word about how important it is call the professionals right away. Do not search the internet and ask the web ‘how to rehab a wild animal’. Our lead wildlife care specialist volunteer has years of experience and an extensive knowledge network.       

Our projects began early in the year by replacing our animal infirmary room floor. After years of use it gave out while the electrician was checking the heater. We started to put some finishing touches to the interior of the large aviary but before we could get to the exterior by adding a second layer of metal wire, the season began and the space was needed for rehabilitative care.  

We were blessed with wonderful ‘animal taxi’ service. So many of you were willing volunteer your time and fuel to transportation needs for our native neighbors; without this generosity these animals would not have been given the chance to recover. There were four birds that needed to be transferred to different facilities – some requiring quite long distances. Thank you to all those involve with helping the Great Blue Heron, the Red Naped Sapsucker, the Brewers and the Yellow Headed Blackbirds. 

Education & Public Outreach         

Our website provides a wealth of information about all our native neighbors (including tips on how to humanely evict); it also details the multitude of fundraising programs, how to get AHWF merchandise, volunteer and board member forms, and links purchasing our illustrated children’s books. After much searching we have located offline software to redesign the website and construction will take place over winter. We anticipate the new updated site to be launched in Spring 2017. We have created ‘hubs’ on the hubpages site so we can offer a variety of information on North Idaho topics; due to the limited time we were not able to post new articles in 2016 but we are hopeful 2017 will allow. We also have several social media accounts established to keep the community up to date on our activities. We do however need help maintaining them. If you joy posting and weeting and inning and logging and ideos or , PLEASE give us a call and we will be ever appreciative if you could take over as our s ocial media coordinator.  

Due to the quantity of wildlife cases, the number of phone calls, the busy hectic schedule of the primary lead volunteer- who also works at ‘paying jobs’ outside the facility, was only able to arrange a few educational demonstrations. These took place in January through March – the second Saturdays and the last Wednesday we were at the Clark Fork or the Sandpoint or the CF Methodist church. 

We sent out (snail mail, email, and blog) our newsletters twice each year, January and July. There were two Scenic Highway 200 clean-up projects, scheduled for April (near EarthDay) and early October. We also scheduled two in-house clean-up projects – the spring spruce up and fall inventory days. The calendar relayed there were Two events in January, Three in February, Three in March, Two in April, Two in May, Two in June, Two in July, Three in September, Two in October and One in December.

We also experienced several opportunities of public exposure: The Roundup (advertisement) in January, The Daily Bee in March, the WiseGuide in May, The Reader in June, Coeur d’ Alene Magazine (indirectly referenced) in June, KRFY radio interview in July, The Inlander in August, Three times listed in the River Journal, the Daily Bee in September, Idaho Magazine in November, KREM news in December. Thank you to those directly involved with writing the articles, coordinating with the publication editors, arranging interviews. A huge thank you is given to Trish (you know what you did!). We do maintain a listing in the Local Pages phone book. We are also seen online through the nonprofit review sites                              &    

We continue to expand our ability to introduce our nonprofit to the global community by reaching out through charity listing on several shopping/online sites as well as crowdfunding/donation sites. Each online donation site for fundraising has their own level of ease and fees associated. Donation buttons are also linked to the facebook pages. Local shopping for charity: Yokes Market & Fred Meyers. Online shopping or donating: Amazon, Ebay, iGive, Good Shop/Good Search, Network for Good, Just Give, Welzoo, Good World, Razoo, Giving Grid, Love Animals & Go Fund Me. We have signed up with a company (Ethix) that offers businesses the ability to process credit cards and have a percentage of the money go towards our charity. If your company is interested in switching your credit card processing to this group we will provide you with all the assistance you need. Ethix will also help pay your cancellation fees. All these links are on our website.   




One more way to help local wildlife easily is to check with your credit card company to find out if we are one of the recognized charities. For example through American Express the ‘members give’ program supports recognized 501c3 nonprofits. 

The wonderful magazine Bird Watchers Digest gives a portion of the subscription to our cause. Find the link on our website. All proceeds go directly to AHWF when you get our series of specially written books. These children’s books are available at Vanderfords and Bonner Books, at  (online) or directly from AHWF. Five books have been created: Three (Logger’s Story, Logger Returns, Logger Makes New Friends) are enjoyable stories for younger children –excellent for bedtime stories and young readers. One is an activity book that everyone would find entertaining titled Fun time with Logger. It includes 54 activities such as crossword puzzles, word searches, dot to dot, wildlife trivia and color by number local birds. Adventures of a Wildlife Special Agent is the story written unlike most – it is a chose your own adventure book. The reader gets to decide which path the USFWS agent takes. Our hope is that readers young and old will enjoy the lessons taught by the story. We have been unsuccessful in connecting with a local artist to convert the entire Loggers Story series into a graphic novel (aka comic book).  I believe they are also found through online book publishers – in the ebook formats: amazon’s kindle, barnes & nobles nook, kobu, apple’s ebook. The Sandpoint and Clark Fork Libraries have been given copies as well. 


We held a dizzying variety of fundraising activities and events this year. Each event required varying levels of promotional expenses and return on investment amounts. The first was a Gourmet Cheesecake & Coffee fundraiser in February. We also had two ‘Pizza and a Show’ events. There were two online donation competitions – one in March called BreadBoost and one in May called IdahoGives. We also set up a gofundme page to help us raise funds for the expenses incurred by the Great Blue Heron. Four summertime barbeques took place at Monarch Market (Sharon & Ronda you are incredible) in April, May, and June. 7B Sunday at Schweitzer Mountain in June, Clark Fork Independence Day celebration, Firewood Raffle (Thanks Mike & Bev), Pints for a Cause at Idaho Pour Authority and the 1st Annual Comedy Show in September (thank you Kermet Apio & Jenny & all the local biz that donated gift baskets), The 1st annual scarecrow contest at Hickey Farms, the SipnShop at Pend Oreille Winery in October, and the Christmas Craft Fair at the Bonner Mall in December (Thank you Diane, Judi and Lois).            

Our 2016 total expenses for the year were are $21,102. The categories are Wildlife, Education & Outreach, and Administrative & General Operating.

Wildlife expenses were for food, medical supplies & attention, professional membership fees, fuel cost to deliver or retrieve wildlife, and enclosure building materials, Northern Lights electricity & Frontier phone. The mission of Education & Outreach costs included venue reservations, educational materials, & fuel reimbursement.  The total for this category is $13,672. This included $550 – the small weekly stipend and fuel reimbursement for the qualified intern who assisted with the busy Spring/Summer season – April/May through September. We found a candidate that was willing to learn and be taught, able to live without cell phone or high speed internet and remain courteous despite long hours. Applications to apply for the 2017 position will be available on the website.  Upon leaving the intern(s) are asked to complete an exit questionnaire. The results revealed 1) there is a great deal to learn and 2) the wish that the lead wildlife caregiver was more available. As you are aware, the lead caregiver is also the founder, but has to supplement her income with several part time paying jobs. The quick solution would be to provide a cell phone with frontier phone service (they seem to be the most reliable of all the carriers for the Clark Fork region) with the hope her employers do not become upset by taking phone calls while at work. The long term solution would be to raise sufficient funds and offer a seasonal part time position to allow side by side training.     
We were involved in a total of fifteen local events. This allowed our community to support us financially; we were able to support our community with information. We have several online platforms, shopping bars, and other programs which also provide a means to financially support our mission. The AHWF merchandise site on Café Press is a means to provide revenue as well as expand our reach into several different communities. Café Press offers items such as coffee mugs, teddy bears, and a variety of tee shirt styles, tote bags, aprons and baby clothes. We have locally printed tees, hats & sweatshirts. We also have the series of books written and illustrated by AHWF founders. Professional wildlife photographer Paul Felter has donated many of his own copyrighted prints and images taken of our recuperating wildlife. These framed wildlife photographs are available at Monarch Market and at any of our awareness booths. You can also view some online on the AHWF facebook page during Silent Auction Saturdays and wildlife photograph reference. The total was over $5,000 with a ripple effect of awareness and future donations.

We are so grateful to Jackie, Judy, Teresa, Sue, Ronda, Sharon, Monarch Market, Earthworks NW, Kathleen, Susan, Tomas & Margaurite, Sandy, Shelly, Jennifer, Elaine, WW, Jeannie & Alan, Shawn, Christine, Leina, Robert & Marilyn, Tim, Jessica, Richard, Bob & Leslie, Kathe, Jerilyn & Derek, Nancy, Kelly, Donna & Neil, Mya, Elliot, Jack & Diane, Jenny, Desiree, Walt & Nicki, Cheyenna, Clark & Debra, Jutta, Judy, Bob & Joan, Cindy, Mary, Diane & George, Tim & Jackie, Lakota Northwest Flutes, Mike & Bev, Randi, Judi, Jenna, Vicki, Roz, Sharon, Lia, Tina, Cheryl, Teri, Sherry & Chris, Amanda & Josh, Cindi, Mr. B, Sheri, Evans Brothers, Leslie,  Jeannine, Anna, Linda, Tika, James & Heidi, Betsy, George & Tami, Ana, Lindsey & John, Heather, Gayle, Thymon, Aaron, Kes, Deanna, Dovalee, Ed & Jane, Darcy & Randy, Co-Op, George, Fry Creek Vet Clinic, Laura, Sharon, Sally, Deirdre, Linda, Lois, Shelly, Fiddlin’ Reds Music Store, Hailey, BGH, Trish, Paul, Jim & Hickey Farms, Sandpoint Chocolate Bear, NIAH, Sandpoint Academy of the Arts, Winterridge, Clark Fork Wellness, Great Stuff, Flying Fish, Noble Wines, Hurley Dean, Northwest Handmade, Ponderay Garden Center, WCT,  Schweitzer Mtn. Resort, Cabelas, & Blythe’s Bully Buggy. These folks were willing to contribute funds or time or items. Each one made the promise to present the present as a present for future generations. They are responsible for keeping North Idaho WILD…will you?

We also wish to thank those who gave necessary supplies or readily traveled long distances. Thank you does not convey sufficient sentiment however it is our only way to express the gratitude we wish express to all those involved with transporting wild animals in need. Because of their contributions, we did not have to expend our limited resources. We are grateful that the Yokes community card members is growing and those that shop on Amazon and Ebay are making sure AHWF is their designated charity. This year’s success could not have taken place without all of you! 

The total revenue received to date $25,400.00. Including in-kind contributions & labor the total is over $58,000  

We applied for a grant in 2015 to assist in the creation of a meandering Nature Walk through the diverse habitat on the leased AHWF property. We did pass the first round of reviews but unfortunately did not make the final round and receive the funding in 2016. This could be a wonderful community service project for those able bodies willing to use rakes and shovels to level out the land, carry buckets of bark and mulch, pack wood beams to line the trail, paint signage, etc. Our hope for this trail is not only to offer hands on approach to outdoor education; once completed, we would encourage school groups, seniors, and all others to schedule appointments and meet with one of our trained guides. We want everyone to get out and explore a sample of North Idaho wilderness in a safe and informative setting. We anticipated this type of educational opportunity could provide a stable means of revenue for AHWF. If you want to help us make this happen give us a call.          

American Heritage Wildlife Foundation is continuing to expand our ability to care for all North Idaho wildlife species. The state of Idaho granted permission in late 2015 for AHWF to construct and then receive a large game mammal rehabilitation permit. This means that all the calls relating to orphaned bear cubs or other charismatic megafauna can be immediately responded to. We have acquired a 32 foot by 24 foot mesh enclosure and $5,000 but more help is needed in order to meet this goal.   

Before I move on to the upcoming events of 2017, I will take a moment to remember a wonderful woman who passed away this year. Bev you were such a delight and your positive spirit will be missed. Thank you for sharing in the joy of local wildlife. Our thoughts and prayers are with you Mike.    

What’s Next for 2017?
First and foremost I will announce that we need more board members. Many of our current directors are retiring their volunteer positions due to health problems. We can have as many as seven members. Vacancies exist for all positions – basic Directors, Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President, and President. We must have a board of directors to remain compliant with all nonprofit regulatory agencies. Applications can be found online or call us directly. The obligation is a monthly meeting in varying forms (phone, email, in person). The directors are the guiding force for the foundation. The tasks include reviewing the wildlife and financial information, planning and organizing outreach events. We are also seeking a CPA (or similar experience) to assist us with filing the end of year documents to the IRS. Our longtime volunteer is relocating out of our area. 

We need you to sign up and help with the two highway clean up sessions – usually around Earthday in April and again in the autumn (September/October). We would like you to get involved with coordinating events. In February we will be bringing acclaimed author, wildlife photographer and speaker Paul Bannick to Sandpoint. We will also again have a professional comedian for the Comedy Night fundraiser. The scarecrow contest will again take place at Hickey Farms in October. Idaho Pour Authority and Pend Oreille Winery are such gems in our beautiful North Idaho. These businesses have agreed to again host fundraisers in the fall. We want your help with all the public booths like 7B Sunday at Schweitzer, Independence Day celebrations, and the Christmas Craft Fair. We will continue educational lectures but would gladly allow others to use our equipment in order to teach our community. There are more than 20 entertaining and educational powerpoint lectures to offer our community.

If public speaking and crowds is not your thing, writing articles for the newsletter and blogging and social media posting are all important ways to keep everyone updated; volunteers that can take over this area would be such a blessing. If you are interested in helping with website design we will welcome you with open arms. We could not complete the valuable work with rehabilitation without an army of volunteers.     

As much as we need to have volunteers that donate time or bring supplies such as newspapers; funding is equally important. We need donations and financial support. We are hoping to again sign up for both online events: Breadboost in March  & IdahoGives in May. We will also launch a LoveAnimals campaign in February. We are looking to add GivingTuesday in November. We will have tickets available for the Comedy Show and seeking scarecrow contest entrants in the late summer. We are looking for the ability to continue our mission of wildlife rehabilitation and to raise the final funds needed for the large game mammal enclosures. We estimate we need either another $5,000 to complete the necessary enclosures. AHWF would be one facility of only a handful of facilities in the nation working to assist these mega-charismatic mega fauna species in need.

Whether you were able to contribute a large one time donations, or small monthly donations, contributions of aluminum cans that we recycle for funds or belong to the various shopping programs like yokes, ebay and amazon - all methods contribute to the very survival of this local charity. Thank you and please continue to remember us in 2017.       

American Heritage Wildlife Foundation is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization and all donations may be tax deductible. We are also an Idaho Nonprofit Incorporation; this does not however provide financial relief in any form. There are no federal, state or county funds given to provide for wildlife rehabilitation. We are members of the professional National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association and the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council. AHWF holds permits from the USFWS migratory bird department and Idaho State Fish and Game. The one acre we lease is a certified wildlife habitat. We are 100 % volunteer.       

                                                                            *completed 18 December 2016 by K. St. Clair – McGee

Friday, November 4, 2016

Playtime in North Idaho Racoon rehabilitation yard

Make sure you call the professionals - not the internet

 Each year wild animals are kidnapped from their natural environment. This is a nation wide epidemic.  You can stop the spread of this heart jerk reaction.
   You look out your window into your yard or perhaps you are out on a nice stroll. You see a young animal on the ground and your heart leaps!  First thought is ’look a wild animal’ . To many the next thought is ‘the animal must be orphaned’ and the well meaning individual picks the animal up.
   Your next thought should be: AHWF. Make sure you are AWARE of your surroundings, HESITATE before approaching a wild animal, WATCH for signs of distress before picking up, FOLLOW through with contacting the professionals if indeed there is a need to remove this animal from their natural home.

   Wildlife rehabilitation is challenging at best and exceptionally frustrating when patients come in to care days or weeks after they have been ‘rescued’.       
   The saddest part of rehabilitation is when an animal must be euthanized. The state of Idaho requires all native wild animals be released or euthanized. The wild animal must not be kept in confinement—it is not fair to the wild animal.  
   When an animal has been wounded and full recovery is not possible the decision is easier. The animal is suffering so an end to the pain is the most humane decision.  
   When an animal had every chance to be returned to the wild but must be put to sleep because of ignorance on the part of the well meaning rescuer it is very painful.
   A wise man once said ‘you are forever responsible for what you choose to tame’. When you choose to keep that wild animal and attempt to provide long term rehabilitative care you are not helping the animal. You are not thinking about the animal. You are doing a disservice to that helpless wild creature.

Wildlife rehabilitation facilities are run by dedicated people with years of training & experience. They did not just read an article on the internet.  Without proper nutrition and housing the animal will not meet the full potential and will not be able to be successful if released back into the wild.
   Survival of the fittest is not just a slogan or nonchalant saying in the rugged Idaho wild lands.