"A simple act of kindness and compassion towards a single animal may not mean anything to all creatures, but will mean everything to one." 
Paul Oxton

June Newsletter - Welcome Interns!

A Message from our Executive  Director

A young red shoulder hawk comes in for care so he can be stabilized before returning to his nest site. 

June greets us with a swelling of appreciation for our amazing community. We have so much to be grateful for here at Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue. We especially wanted to convey our gratitude to everyone who made donations to our organization through our Spring Appeal. We rely on donations from our supporters and from the general public to fund our charity work, and we are always grateful for your dedicated support for our cause. 

We are also grateful for our group of interns who have started their internships with our organization. During this busy time of year, we rely on interns to help with the immense list of things to do in regards to animal care. Some of the things interns help us with at Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue include: preparing the diets for our wildlife patients, feeding the wildlife community, housekeeping duties, and helping with administering medication and treatments to our wildlife patients. We even have an intern who  currently plays an active role in our Barn Owl Maintenance Program! 

We appreciate all our interns and, of course, our dedicated volunteers who help us all year round! There are always projects to be done here at SCWR and we are thankful for all the help!

Newsletter Flashback: A Wildlife Exclusion Service
We are deep into baby season and the phones are ringing off the hook with nuisance wildlife calls. Raccoons, grey foxes, bats, and skunks are raising new families. It's a miracle of life - unless they're under your bathroom or in your attic. As the calls increase, so does the need to educate the public on humane exclusion techniques and share our services. 
It is illegal to trap and relocate wildlife in California. Why? There are many reasons, such as the spread of disease and unfavorable outcomes for relocated animals. However, the most important reason this time of year is that mothers can be taken from their babies. During spring and summer, it is highly unlikely that there is a solo animal under your house.  

Here is a true story of a typical case we see at Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue:  an unknowing handyman went to trap a feral cat living under the house. Instead, he caught a raccoon. He didn't want to kill it, so he moved it to a wild area far away. He didn't realize he was breaking the law. He also didn't realize that the raccoon was a mother until the tenants heard crying under the bathtub. To retrieve the babies, we had to cut a hole through the drywall and manually extract them. Four raccoon babies unnecessarily lost their mother.  Being orphaned, SCWR had to hand-raise them until they were ready for release. Not only could we never be as effective as their mother would have been, but their care cost SCWR over $2,000. 
Instead of illegal wildlife trapping and relocating, SCWR operates A Wildlife Exclusion Service. We operate like an eviction service. We find the wildlife entry points and crawl through attics or  sub-floors  to find the nest. Next, we put Predator Scent (mountain lion feces) by the babies to send the message to the mother that her babies are not safe in their current location. Once she moves, we seal up the house. This is a sustainable solution that keeps wildlife families together and provides long lasting protection from future wildlife intrusions. In addition, often on our crawl we'll find issues with the home that the owner wasn't aware of. We've discovered leaky pipes, missing insulation and even termite colonies! Fees for these services support our wildlife rehabilitation efforts. If you're having wildlife problems, please let us, the wildlife experts, provide wildlife solutions.

Visit the website for A Wildlife Exclusion Service or call 707-992-0276 for advice.
Community Spotlight: KT McKnulty

KT (left) and her helpers  are integral to organizing and running our auctions at Pints for Paws. This is just one of KT's many talents!
I just wanted to tell you how much we all love and appreciate KT McNulty. She has been with us for over 3 years and has brought with her a set of skills, professionalism, dedication and compassion that we do not often see all in one person. She is a great role-model to me and makes us all feel lucky to have her on our team. 

One of the things that not many people know about KT is her amazing skunk whispering skills. What do you need to be a great skunk whisperer? You need a strong sense of self-confidence, fearlessness and most of all, a great love of skunks. KT knows that not many people would go near a skunk to help it and the compassion and instinctual drive in her to help the less fortunate brings her to a skunk rescue every time.

KT also helps us with our fundraisers and brings a sense of glamour and elegance to those events that is really hard to find in the work we do saving animals. I am sure this comes from the joy and many rewards of all the wild animals she has rescued and saved during the years she has been with us. She can always see their beauty, no matter what unfortunate situation they are in.

We are grateful to have KT helping us and very proud of her contributions in the lifesaving efforts to the people in Sonoma County during the fires. We are so impressed that she is now being awarded the IAED Dispatcher of the Year Award. 

Read more about KT's skills in helping people and animals in this great article from the Press Democrat.

-Doris Duncan

Animal Care Spotlight: All About Beavers!

One of the young beavers in our care builds her strength by swimming in our Aquatic Mammal Enclosure. Photo by  Tommy Sullivan.

Did you know we have beavers here in Sonoma County? American beavers  live all throughout North America , although they tend to avoid deserts and the far northern  areas of Canada. Beavers were not always this common, however, as they were largely hunted for their treasured pelts. They were killed off, for the most part, in the 1700s and 1800s. In California, they were exploited by the maritime Russian-American fur traders who navigated up and down the coastline. Prior to this hunting, beavers were found all across California except for the Mojave Desert.

Fortunately for California, some beaver populations remain. Beavers are more common in the northern and eastern parts of the state, as well as the central valley (think places with lots of waterways). 

Why are we Californians fortunate to be able to count beavers as our wild neighbors? They are ecosystem engineers. As they build dams to create stable ponds in which their own families can live, they also engineer prime habitat for fish, amphibians, and wading birds. Beaver dams have also been shown to help re-charge groundwater and control erosion

Like any wild animal, beavers sometimes need rescue. Fortunately, here at SCWR, we are uniquely equipped to care for aquatic mammals like beavers and river otters in our Aquatic Mammal Enclosure. This is a dedicated enclosure for housing aquatic mammals that includes a pond with running water, den space, and ample room for exploring the forest floor. Special thanks to Todd Hendreikson of Aquascape Custom Crafted Pools for designing and building the AME!

The female beaver explores the Aquatic Mammal Enclosure. Photo by Tommy Sullivan.

We currently have two beavers in our care. One baby female came to us as an orphan from Clovis and a juvenile male came to us with an injury from Redding. Each of these animals is receiving the specialty care they need to recover and thrive.

In the wild, beavers live in "lodges" with their family until they are two years old. This means that baby beavers need socialization in order to thrive. To this end, our staff and volunteers visit the baby beaver several times a day to check on her well-being and provide social contact.   Normally we avoid social contact with wild animals to avoid habituating them to people, but for young beavers the greater risk is depriving them of socialization. Naturally, another beaver would be better company for this young orphan, so we were hopeful when the second beaver arrived a few months later that they might get alon g. We are in the process of gradually introducing the two.

The male beaver came to us with injuries on his feet. His wounds are being tended to diligently and we even modified his enclosure to be lined with artificial turf instead of cement to give him a softer substrate on which to recover.

For more information on how we care for beavers and to see them in our specially designed enclosure, please watch this great video hosted by our staff veterinarian, Dr. Dan Famini, and produced by our Volunteer and Community Support Coordinator, Desiree McGunagle. 

Here you can see the beaver's large tail that is used to make dams and the large webbed feet used for swimming. Photo by Tommy Sullivan.

For more information about the history of beavers in California, check out this  article from Bay Nature . For more information on the amazing ecosystem engineering ability of beavers,  explore these resources from PBS .
Current Events

Summer Activities at SCWR! 
Looking for a fun summer activity for your children that will leave a lasting impression? Consider having them join our PEEP program!

Does your child love animals?

Are you looking for an opportunity for them to explore these interests while learning professional standards for animal care?

Do you want them to explore the outdoors in a safe, nurturing environment?

Have you ever wondered how we can keep our domestic animals safe and wild animals safe at the same time?

The Predator Exclusion and Education Program (PEEP) offers students ages 5-17 the opportunity to learn how to work with farm animals and an organic garden using wildlife friendly techniques. Lessons can be done one-on-one with an instructor or taken with a friend. We value these small student-to-teacher ratios so that each lesson can be customized to the students' learning needs and interests.

PEEP lessons occur once a week for a six month period, every week, and are two-hours long. Students learn to care for domestic animals using the same techniques we use in caring for wildlife. Students also learn to tend to the garden and eat the results! Along the way, students grow in confidence as they learn to be responsible for the well-being of these living things.

For more information about program costs and how to sign up, visit the PEEP Interactive Learning web page. Scholarships are available!

PEEP students work with animals like sheep, goats, chickens, and house cats on our idyllic property in the Petaluma countryside.


Thank you to all our supporters! 

Much Love From All Of Us,
Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue

Visit Us!
Tours are on Saturdays, October-April at 2PM only,  May-September at 12PM and 2PM . We hope to see you soon! Click here for more details.

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