2022 Spring Newsletter | Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue
Our Message
Baby Season is Here!
Dear Supporters,

Spring is in full bloom in Sonoma County and baby season is officially underway. The excitement of spring’s arrival can be heard throughout the property at Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue from the native songbirds calling out while busily building their nests and our resident great horned owls who can be heard calling to each other at dusk from their nest and beyond. Inside the center, the squeaks and chirps of orphaned squirrels and opossums have returned, our phones are busier, and the warmer weather has brought added foot traffic to our public tours on Saturdays. Our staff is in “nesting mode” themselves using any spare moment between caring for our current patients, to prepare for the larger numbers that will be coming into the Center any day now. Our winter projects are coming to an end and the Center is beaming and primed for the busy upcoming months.

Currently, SCWR is in the process of selecting our Summer Interns who will help us in incredible ways this summer. We are also hiring two full-time, seasonal Wildlife Receptionists who will help answer phones and help keep our operations running smoothly this summer and early fall.

Our Wildlife Exclusion business is busy as ever helping our community and wildlife with humane evictions and advice for wildlife denning in or around people’s homes. We are currently hiring for a full-time Exclusion Technician to help us with these efforts.

Spring Monitoring for our Barn Owl Maintenance Program will soon be underway monitoring nearly 180 boxes for active barn owl nests (see below). This year we are already off to a busy start having installed 27 new barn owl boxes in Sonoma County so far this year, bringing out numbers up to 712 barn owl boxes.

This summer Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue will be the temporary home for hundreds of wildlife patients. The care that takes place during these busy summer months largely includes bottle feeding dozens of orphans a day, providing advanced medical care to sick and injured wildlife, creating and implementing natural enrichment for our patients, preparing daily diets for upwards of 170 patients in the height of baby season, and answering wildlife hotline calls and dispatching rescues for wildlife in need. The added expense that baby season will bring is tremendous, with 70% of our animal care budget occurring in these few months, and with rising food and gas costs, the cost of care is ever rising. We hope we can count on you for help this spring. Our Spring Season Appeal will be sent out later this week. We hope you will consider donating to Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue.
Bear Cub Update
Young, female bear cub waking up from sedation ahead of her release back into the wild!
We are so happy to announce that we have released one of the bear cubs back into the wild! This cub was the oldest and largest of the four cubs, weighing 107 pounds on her release date. She was released by the Department of Fish and Wildlife in Southern California, near the area where she was initially found.

We have three bear cubs that remain in our care and they have ever growing appetites! If you would like to donate food towards these young cubs, please sign up on our website here. We are currently in need of hardboiled eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts and enrichment.

To read all about the bear cubs at SCWR and the enclosure we are building to house future cubs, check out our Animal Care Spotlight in our 2022 Winter Newsletter.
Community Spotlight:
Coast Guard Training Center Petaluma
One of the most arduous and continuous tasks at the wildlife rescue is transporting and dispersing mulch across the 1,400 yards of trails and pathways we have here at the wildlife rescue. We typically need to apply new mulch to our trails twice a year, before and after the rainy season. This task is made even more difficult when you factor in the steep elevation of our property.

Early this year, we were again in need of mulching pathways when Petaluma’s Coast Guard Training Center answered our call for help. The staff and students from Electronics Technician and Operations Specialist “A” Schools selflessly spent their Sunday morning dispersing mulch across our property and making our trails as good as new!
BOMP Corner
Spring Monitoring Season is Here!

Reach out to Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue's Barn Owl Maintenance Program to schedule your spring monitoring visit today! Call us at 707-992-0274 or email us at [email protected].

Read our recent article about BOMP Spring Monitoring services here.
Animal Care Spotlight
A Rising Issue for Wildlife
Imprinting is one of the largest concerns wildlife rehabbers face when working with orphaned wildlife. Imprinting occurs when an animal is raised by humans and does not learn the skills necessary to survive in the wild, learning dependent behavior towards the humans that raised it. As professionals, we have several tools and resources at our disposal to prevent our patients from imprinting on us, but a few examples include limiting contact with the animal, having proper enclosures with enrichment natural to their habitats in the wild, and placing animals with others of the same species. Having these strict protocols in place has made us and other rehabilitation centers greatly successful in getting wildlife back to their homes in the wild.

Even with our success and community presence in Sonoma County, we receive dozens of animals every year that members of the community attempt to raise on their own. Animals that have been kept for long periods of time without professional care are at critical risk of these detrimental behavioral issues and are even more likely to never return to the wild. Aside from imprinting, animals who are raised without professional training, often only come into care once severe, deadly, and preventable medical issues, such as aspiration pneumonia and metabolic bone disease, arise. We want to be clear that this is not only harmful to the health and wellbeing of the animal but is also illegal in the state of California.

With the rise of social media, this issue has gotten worse. Indeed, sharing cute photos of wildlife garners a lot of likes and attention on the internet, making the draw to raise wildlife that much more appealing for some. Even more discouraging is when we look at the comment threads on these posts, there is usually no representation for what is best for the animal. Wildlife is not able to be domesticated by simply raising the animal around humans. These animals have a strong instinct to be in the wild, mate, and maintain their own territories in their natural habitats. What is seen on these videos is simply only the highlight reel as wild animals in captivity are unlikely to thrive.

While this is a message that we have shared with our supporter base time and time again, we have come to realize that our voice only reaches a small percent of those in our community and those that wish to raise wildlife on their own are unlikely to seek us out for help until it is too late. That is why we are here today asking you for your help in advocating for animals in need of professional care. Aside from severe medical issues, the second most common reason why we see an animal in this situation surrendered is after the encouragement of a family member or friend. Through our work, we have learned that our message has a much greater impact when it comes from a place of compassion and empathy. We’ve learned that we can reach more people and cause a greater effect on people when we encourage our supporters to share our message in a similar way. For wildlife, our voices are our strongest tool, and we must advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves. This baby season, if you see someone raising a wild animal, please encourage them to seek professional care.
Read more about the laws pertaining to this article and for resources on the 80+ licensed facilities in the state of California here.
Support Your Local Wildlife!
Donate Today!
Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization that relies on donations from the public to rehabilitate the 1,000+ animals we receive each year. We do not receive any government funding. Our annual operating budget is $950,000, which means it costs almost $2,600 per day to keep our doors open.  Any donation helps!
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