Wild Bunch Newsletter -- June 2004
Wild Bunch wishes to give you a brief update of our activities during the month of May. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit Virginia organization devoted to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of native wildlife. 83 acres have been developed in the Northern Neck of Virginia near the Rappahannock River to serve as our refuge. The officers and directors are Erika Yery, Pat Crusenberry, Diana Oâ€™Connor, Charlene DeVol and Bonnie Brown.
In the past month, at the refuge, Diana took in 11 raccoons, 4 groundhogs, 1 dove, 2 hawks, 55 mallards, 1 barred owl, 13 opossums, 4 baby geese, 3 wood ducks, 5 bluebirds, 1 rabbit, 1 sparrow, 18 blackbirds, 2 robins, 2 finches, 2 black vultures, 1 osprey and 1 skunk. Erika received 13 raccoons, 2 groundhogs, 1 red fox, 1 robin, 1 grackle, 1 mockingbird, 2 pigeons and 1 large snapping turtle.
People Magazine recently interviewed Erika for an article on unusual occurrences regarding wildlife and people. We will keep you informed about a publication date. A Washington Post reporter also visited Erika to take pictures and conduct an interview for the KidsPost (usually the last page of the Style section of the Washington Post). It should appear in the first couple of weeks of June. These are always good opportunities to stress the importance of learning to co-exist with the wildlife around us and act responsibly when confronted with problems.
One of the seven foxes that were rescued in March, had to have surgery in April to repair a very serious stomach wound. This difficult operation was performed by Dr. Anne Hiss. He was the smallest one of the litter, but a real fighter. He constantly started fights with his sibling and got terribly beat up in the process. After surgery he had to be kept isolated and was placed in an adjacent cage outdoors so he could still have contact with his siblings. Soon after, the Alexandria Animal Control brought a red fox vixen and, since she was smaller and he needed a companion, we put her in the enclosure with Mr. Fox, as we now called him. After a later examination there was the possibility of another surgery, but luckily it was not required and he was finally reunited with all his siblings. On May 22, Erika, Bonnie and Charlene went to the refuge with the eight foxes, who are now in a wonderful large pre- release cage in the woods. It is next to a beautiful wildflower meadow and is the perfect environment for them once they are released in late August. A detailed story about this will appear later this year.
As always, it was a great visit with all the various animals Diana has in her care. We visited with several age groups of raccoons, adorable baby groundhogs and opossums, all the ducklings and a very stern looking juvenile barred owl. We were anxious to see a mother skunk with babies, but she had released herself and has taken up residence with her brood under the old homestead.
Dennis Oâ€™Connor is in the process of building an aviary for songbirds and, as always, helping with the wildlife. We are in desperate need for volunteers to help at the refuge. There is so much to be done in addition to caring for the animals. There is the grass to be cut around the Intake Center, various repair work on cages and structures and of course cleaning cages. The refuge is approximately two hours from the Northern Virginia area and it is possible to spend the night there if necessary.
Restoring the old homestead to a rustic short term home, unfortunately has to take the backburner again due to the many expenses we have right now. The bridge reconstruction has been completed successfully, but we still have the new barn to be constructed and to complete the cleaning of the trash and debris from around the refuge and the old barn that was destroyed during Hurricane Isabel. As luck would have it, as well as these expenses, a large electrical storm recently hit our well pump and a new one had to be installed. Erikaâ€™s dream has been, and still is, to restore the old homestead so that when volunteers come to help they would have a fun place to stay and be right on the property.
Our True Story this month on the website is a requested repeat of "Just Another Week in the Wild Life of a Rehabilitator." It is particularly appropriate that we rerun this now since it concerns a June week that Erika documented in 1995. The story is on the long side, but well worth reading, as it truthfully depicts a typical week that many rehabbers experience from May through September, every year. In fact, area rehabbersâ€™ current â€œbaby seasonsâ€� may be even more overwhelming now that the Wildlife Rescue League has a Wildlife Assistance Hotline. Since it started, far more animals are received but the number of rehabbers to care for these animals has not increased.
As always, we are grateful for your many generous donations and would truly welcome any offers to help out at the refuge. The number of animals we are taking in this year has continued to grow. With that, so do our expenses and the volume of work that must be accomplished to maintain the refuge. We rely deeply on your support and appreciate everything you do to help us out.
We wish all our Wild Bunch friends and family a safe and happy summer.