Success Stories – Mammals
In memory of Teddy-a one-of-a-kind-raccoon: Teddy was the inspiration for WIC and has reminded us every day why we do what we do. Teddy was abused, malnourished and malformed when he came to us in 1987 and his prognosis for recovery was extremely poor. He healed well and was released with his peers. He returned to us on his own several weeks later, having been mauled by another animal. This time his prognosis was even worse. With a spinal infection, torn off tail, nerve damage to both hind legs and abscess wounds covering his body, even our skilled vet thought he would die. Well, he didn’t die, instead he thrived. He lived with us for 10 years, but cancer was the one thing that even Teddy couldn’t overcome. In 1997 Teddy died. His spirit, wisdom and wit will remain with us always as a testament to the power of nature. His dignity from beginning to end set an example for us to follow within our own lives. It is in Teddy’s memory that we continue our work at Wildlife In Crisis.
Baby Red Fox Roxy was found alone in the snow on a cold February day. She was brought to Wildlife in Crisis where we gently bathed her emaciated, hypothermic little body with warm water and placed her in an incubator. Once warmed, we administered subcutaneous fluids a little at a time until she was strong enough to swallow KMR, a milk replacement formula which we fed every hour. Day after day, week after week she grew stronger, until finally we could place her with other orphaned baby fox with similar harrowing histories. After several months of meticulous care, she was placed in our large outdoor habitat in preparation for release. After 8 months, she was released with her “siblings” for a second chance at life in the wild.
Raccoon with peanut butter jar stuck on head: A homeowner in Ridgefield spotted a raccoon in her yard, stumbling around with its head stuck in a peanut butter jar. The woman made dozens of fruitless calls to police, veterinarians, humane societies and other agencies, until she reached us. We immediately responded with net in hand. The first thing we noticed was that this was a nursing female who had babies waiting for her somewhere. Since the jar was so tightly wedged on the raccoon’s head it took a few minutes of gently twisting back and forth, but once she was free the raccoon darted off back towards her den to care for her hungry babies. Stopping part way up a nearby tree she glanced back at us as if to say ‘‘Thank you.’’ This hungry mother raccoon was only trying to get the remnants of the peanut butter at the bottom of the jar. We responded just in time; within another half hour or so the raccoon would have succumbed to asphyxiation.
Prevention tip: Wash recyclable containers well with soap and water and securely close lids before placing in recycling bin. Don’t litter and if you see litter pick it up and dispose of it properly. Keep garbage cans inside your garage or shed and have your garbage collectors take them out. Or purchase or build a hinged container to place garbage cans and recyclables in. Certain peanut butter jars and yogurt containers (Yoplait) pose the greatest danger to wild animals like raccoons and skunks due to their narrow tops and wider bottoms.
Skunk with its head caught in dumpster: During the summer, we received a frantic call from a woman in Redding regarding a skunk who had apparently gotten his head caught in a hole in the bottom of a large dumpster. Wild animals like skunks are attracted to the aroma of left-over food in garbage receptacles, and rescue of trapped skunks and raccoons from dumpsters has by dint of necessity, become one of our specialties. When we arrived we saw the poor little guy struggling with all his might to remove his head from this metal contraption. All he managed to do through his struggling was to literally dig himself into a hole. We applied olive oil to his neck on the inside of the dumpster and out. Then we gently slipped his little head through the hole, freeing him from his predicament. He scampered away without looking back. We can only hope that this won’t happen to him again.
Prevention tip: Keep tops of dumpsters closed at all times and eliminate access to the top of dumpsters. Keep the grasping holes at the bottom of the dumpster plugged with rubber plugs that are removed at the time of pick up and dumping.
Little Brown Bat This once abundant bat species is now an endangered species thanks to white-nose syndrome. This deadly fungal disease has been killing bats by the millions over the past decade. This little guy was found with an injured forearm. After several months of recuperation at WIC, he was released. An important outcome considering the decline of this beneficial species. A single little brown bat can consume 1,000 mosquitoes an hour! Like other North American bats, little brown bats are nocturnal. They live in hollow trees, caves and attics. We hope over time that these precious, vital little animals can rebound and overcome the devastation that white-nose syndrome has caused.
Fawns Like all of the orphaned babies at Wildlife in Crisis, fawns are raised in groups and given specialized care from a single caregiver during their stay at WIC to prevent imprinting. Orphaned fawns are brought to Wildlife in Crisis for many reasons, including car strikes to mother and/or fawns, dog attacks, impaled or stuck in fences, gunshot, arrows and pesticide poisoning. One case scenario that we try very hard to prevent is the unnecessary taking of wildlife from their parents. Often people think that fawns are orphans when they are not. Mother deer only return to their fawns a few times a day, so if you see a fawn alone it does not mean that it is an orphan.