Wild Bunch Wildlife Rehabilitation Newsletter -- June, 2003
Wild Bunch wishes to give you a brief update of our activities during the month of June. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit Virginia organization devoted to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of native wildlife. 83 acres has been developed the Northern Neck of Virginia near the Rappahannock River to serve as our refuge. The officers and directors are Erika Yery, Pat Crusenberry, Diana O'Connor, Charlene DeVol and Bonnie Brown. We regret the departure of Adrian Roberts, our secretary/treasurer. After many years of involvement, and tremendous contributions to the wildlife community, he has made the decision to pursue other dreams and goals in his retirement years. As no one else could produce the Joke of the Month page in Adrian's signature fashion, we have retired this feature in honor of his wonderful work maintaining the website. We now welcome Bonnie Brown as our newest board member. She has been on the volunteer staff at the National Zoo for 20 years. Her help in caring for wildlife and managing many transports of animals to rehabbers has been invaluable this season.
In June Erika received 20 raccoons, 2 box turtles and numerous calls for help with mangy foxes. To Diana at the refuge came 3 gray foxes, 18 rabbits, 6 raccoons, 2 squirrels, 2 blue jays, 3 cardinals, 1 crow, 1 white duck, 1 bald eagle, 2 canada geese, 7 grackles, 1 night hawk, 1 heron, 2 mallards, 4 osprey, 1 barred owl, 3 screech owls, 1 robin, 1 barn swallow, 1 turkey, 1 black snake, 3 box turtles and 1 slider turtle.
Along with caring for the animals, Erika and Diana must handle a wide variety of calls from the public needing help or advice with animal situations. This is a constant and daily occurrence but is always viewed as an opportunity to provide valuable advice that can save the life of an animal and also give the individual tools to handle other problems that may come up in the future. Public education is vital and we work very hard on this subject, through training programs and events, at other times during the year.
As for all involved in wildlife rehabilitation this has been an extremely busy season. As more and more development displaces wildlife the loss of habitat is seen in greater numbers of animals that are either injured or orphaned and find their way into the care of rehabbers like Erika and Diana. Our biggest concern is educating the public to find ways to co-exist with wildlife and accept them as part of the environment. It is a huge and often unnecessary burden on wildlife rehabilitators to take in so many animals that are forcefully taken from their mothers by trapping services. In many cases the mother is killed. What a terrible disservice to not allow these families to live out their lives as nature intended. In other cases young animals and birds are found and assumed to be without the parent. Usually, this is not the case. We always urge people to try all means possible to reunite the family. The wildlife rehabilitator should be the last resort, after all other alternatives have failed. Often, with just a little bit of patience and understanding on the part of the homeowner, these animal vs. human conflicts can be resolved to the best interest of all.
We greatly need your help. Wildlife rehabilitation is very expensive. Animals brought to us, in many cases become long term tenants, with stays up to nine months. Because the varied species we treat require different caging, from incubators for infant birds and mammals to large flight cages for raptors, housing alone costs thousands of dollars. Infant formula can run as much as $50 per day. Professional medical care, including x-rays, surgery and medication, is not provided free of charge. At this time there is an urgent need for more caging and nest boxes for released mammals. These expenses are funded entirely by public donations, with the greatest majority of expenses paid by the Wild Bunch board members themselves. As we continue to grow and care for larger numbers of animals, the ability to provide the necessary supplies and equipment becomes more difficult. At any given time more than 100 animals, including raccoons, squirrels, opossums, fox, groundhogs, skunks, herons, osprey, geese, and ducks require care and feeding, each with their own special needs. Last year alone, more than 400 animals came through our facility. We are grateful for any help you can provide.
In addition to the daily needs of food and supplies is an almost greater need of finding and training more rehabilitators to help absorb the overload due to the increases in animals needing care. Fortunately, in the Northern Virginia area, we are training two new wildlife rehabilitators and have gained the help of several wonderful caregivers. A caregiver assists the rehabber but does not treat animals on their own. However, we are seriously lacking rehabbers in the area where our refuge is located. If you know of anyone living in the Northern Neck area that is willing to train in wildlife rehab or help out at the refuge as a volunteer please let us know. There are many ways to contribute to the success of the refuge and we are always looking for volunteers. If you or someone you know could spend even a day helping out it would be greatly appreciated.
Please visit our website at http://www.wildbunchrehab.org to find out more about our refuge and the work we do, as well as how to contact us and make donations. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. If you would like any friends or relatives added to our list of newsletter recipients email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The more people that know about us and can find ways to contribute to the well being of our native Virginia wildlife the better for all.
Have a wonderful summer!