We’ve had some new arrivals at the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue, and I thought I’d share a few pictures.
We also have several young grey foxes on site right now. All of these little guys will (hopefully) be released back into the wild. They’re adorable, and feisty, and run around really fast (so it’s hard to get good photos). But I tried:
Here’s a baby opossum. We’ve had more than a dozen of these little guys come in to the hospital already:
And here’s Opie, our resident grown-up opossum:
Leslie and Katie are Red-tailed Hawks, and they’re our newest permanent residents. One of them is missing part of a wing; not sure why the other one is unable to be released. They’re both so beautiful, though.
Here are a few pics of Kyla, the female mountain lion “cub” who will be spending the rest of her life here at the center.
We had a somewhat close encounter with her. While we were putting out her food, she came over to investigate. Yes, she really IS as close as she looks. I was about a foot away from her, through the chain link fence.
Mostly, she didn’t seem to mind that we were there, but once or twice she did remind us that this is HER territory.
This scene makes me very happy. That’s Kyla with Kuma, her brother, behind her. Kuma is missing one of his legs (due to a poacher, whom I hope goes to jail and has to pay an enormous fine). We were worried that, due to his somewhat limited mobility, he wasn’t getting enough food – that Kyla was eating all of it before he could get down to it. Apparently, not. That grey bundle of fur to the right is one of the rabbits that we gave to the lions. Kyla dragged it up there, which I assume she wouldn’t have done unless she intended to share it with her brother. So, it seems she’s looking out for him, and we don’t need to be worried about him getting anything to eat. 🙂
Here is some EXTREME cuteness – this coyote puppy is adorable, and so friendly. Disturbingly friendly, in fact. He wasn’t scared of us at all, and just wanted to play. This is a bad sign in terms of him being a good candidate for release back into the wild. So, we’re NOT playing with him, or cooing at him, or anything like that (and believe me, it’s SO tempting). Hopefully he’ll get “wilder” as he grows up. But for now, he’s just so adorable, I’m glad to have the opportunity to see him close up like this:
Finally, here’s one of me and my sweetie-boy Wiley. He is so precious (and it’s worth mentioning that the reason he’s here is that he was too friendly, as well – someone tried to raise him as a pet, which didn’t work. So now, he’s too wild to be a pet, but not wild enough to be free. As much as I love getting to play with him every week, it also makes me really sad that he’s locked away in here, because some person thought it would be a good idea to try and tame him):
FYI, our permanent residents are used for education, although they aren’t taken off-site into schools, or to fairs, etc. People can visit the center to see them. The site is separated into two sections: one where the residents live, so that people can come and take tours of this area and see the animals; the other side is for the animals who will be rehabbed and released. The public is not allowed in that part, so those animals don’t have more contact with humans than is absolutely necessary. Tours of the education area are offered every Saturday, plus school groups (and other organizations) can come and visit during the week by appointment.
We do education in schools and at other events, but for the most part, we don’t bring our animals to those events. It’s really stressful for them, so the woman who runs the center made the decision not to put them through that on a regular basis. (I think it’s a good decision). Instead, they bring taxidermied specimens, and skulls and things for children to view/handle, and just talk about the animals we have on site. For a while, they had a red-tailed hawk named Spirit whom I believe WAS taken around to schools and things, but he died a couple of years ago. Maybe they’ll use one of these new hawks in that way? I don’t know.
I think that giving children the opportunity to see wildlife up close like this is such a great way to learn respect for wildlife. That’s what happened for me, anyway, and look at me now. 😀
In just a bit, I’ll be off to feed these animals again today. I’m filling in for someone who’s on vacation, so for the next month, I’ll be feeding twice a week. Plus I’ve just started volunteering at the Songbird Hospital, feeding baby birds. I’ll be doing that once a week, too. No pictures of the baby birds yet, but I plan to take some next week. So keep an eye out for more baby animal cuteness! 🙂