Rescues and Releases
As we approach fall, the final push to release orphaned animals in our care is happening. Young eaglets have been released into territories where we hope they will have success hunting throughout the winter. Raccoons and coyotes are returned to the wild in areas where they can thrive, and young owls and hawks take to the sky. During the late summer, we get a final wave of squirrels and cottontails. Some are true orphans, while others are displaced due to tree work or landscape projects that occur before the weather becomes cold and wet. This keeps us busy into late October, as we currently have about 50 orphaned squirrels in our baby mammal nursery. While the majority of these are Eastern gray squirrels, we also have two Northern flying squirrels in care. These small little guys are nocturnal and tend to live in more wooded areas, so we don’t see many of them brought in for care. When we recently profiled them as our Patient of Week, some people were surprised that this species even live in our area. It is always fun to see people react with surprise and learn something new about our wildlife population.
Top & Bottom Left: Orphaned Northern Flying Squirrel
Bottom Right: Eastern Gray Squirrel
Last week we had a call about an orphaned bear cub in the Yakima area. She was rescued and brought to us after her mother was killed. Our veterinarian, Dr. Kovar and our staff tranquilized her to perform a health exam. We discovered that she had an injury in her mouth and the laceration was sutured. She weighed in at 40 lbs. and once she has completed her 10-day quarantine, we will look for a “buddy” for her. It is critical for most species to have a conspecific (animal of the same species) while in care. Bears remain in rehabilitation throughout the winter and are released the following spring. The last two cubs we had from the winter of 2019, were released in May of 2020, after being fitted with tracking collars and tagged by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Top & Bottom Left: Orphaned Black Bear Cub when she arrived. Bottom Right: Settled into her habitat at our facility.
Bear Cub under anesthesia for her health exam. Her ears were cleaned and her mouth was sutured due to an injury, but otherwise she is healthy.
Check out our YouTube channel to see videos of some of our recent releases. Follow our social media posts (FaceBook and Instagram) or check our website for Patient of the Week updates.