2021 Winter Newsletter | Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue
“Hope is often misunderstood. People tend to think that it is simply passive wishful thinking: I hope something will happen but I’m not going to do anything about it. This is indeed the opposite of real hope, which requires action and engagement.”
- Jane Goodall
Our Message:
Let’s Dare to Hope in 2022
Sun rays shinning through the eucalyptus trees and into our Predator Exclusion and Education Barnyard on January 20, 2022.
Dear Supporters,

A new year has begun in Sonoma County, and we are more excited than ever to see what 2022 has in store for us. Last year was an incredible milestone for Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue, celebrating 40 years of carrying out our mission to rescue, rehabilitate and release sick, injured and orphaned wildlife.
Thanks to growing community support, we were able to raise over $350,000 for our Apex Predator Enclosure! We have also been so fortunate to have incredible professionals answer our many calls for help and offer to aid in the construction of this one-of-a-kind development.

A lot has happened since our last update, and we want to share this exciting news with you! After visiting several centers across the country, we finalized our plans for our Apex Predator Enclosure and have found a company willing and able to construct it for us, Kenwood Fencing. Of course, before any construction can begin, we need to prep the development site by felling trees, clearing the land, and planning the enrichment that will be inside the enclosures. Thanks to Hodgins and Sons Tree Care and Ghilotti Brothers, we believe the first parts of this phase will be completed by the end of January.
Inspiration for our future Apex Predator Enclosure from Lions, Tigers and Bears Animal Rescue and Santuary.
Thanks to the tremendous fundraising support we have received within the first six months of embarking on this endeavor, we have been able to plan beyond the first enclosure and move forward with planning and constructing all four enclosures immediately. This will provide us space needed to care for more bear cubs who will need our help as soon as this summer. The estimated cost for us to construct all four enclosures at once is $400,000.

This is just a small picture of all the work going into this significant project. Within the next few weeks, we are hoping to send a full update and provide you a complete bird’s eye view of our progress and future needs.
William Cutler refinishing the hardwood flooring at Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue as one of our "winter projects".
Outside of the Apex Predator Enclosure Development, our staff and volunteers have been busy preparing for the next baby season, which is right around the corner. Our “winter projects” include organizing and stocking our storage sheds, making new and easily sanitized isolation dens, planting enrichment trees and shrubs in one of our larger predator enclosures, creating new perches for our raptors in care, refinishing the hardwood floors in the wildlife center, many general facility maintenance projects and of course managing the many tasks surrounding our Apex Predator Enclosure development. Thankfully, with all the work that needs to be done, the center is buzzing with hopeful energy that our hard work will all pay off when the first orphans begin to arrive within the next several weeks.

This winter we have also been fortunate to welcome two new members to the SCWR Team, Austin Robinson and Isaiah Greenfield. Austin is joining our team as an Animal Care Technician and Isaiah is our new Wildlife Exclusion Technician. They are currently both working hard to learn their new roles and help us fulfill our mission statement.

Finally, we wanted to take a moment to thank you, our supporters. We are so incredibly grateful for your continued encouragement, advocacy, and passion for helping wildlife in need. Your kindness fuels our fire and helps guide us through our hardest tasks. With so much troubling news that is out there today it is hard to look to the future and be hopeful for what lays in store. Instead of feeling let down by these visions, lets lean on each other and dare to be hopeful in 2022, working together to build a better future for our wildlife and the planet.
Donate to Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue Today.
Event Updates
Spring and Summer Internship at Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue.

Interns wanted! Are you considering pursuing a career in the animal care field? Do you want to know what it's like to work in wildlife rehabilitation?

Click here to find out more information and to start the application process. Applications for Spring 2022 are due by January 31st and Summer 2022 applications are due by March 31st!
Community Spotlight
Adobe Telecom - Petaluma, CA

In 2021, Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue greatly expanded their use of cameras to monitor patients in care. While trail cameras have long been used in Wildlife Rehabilitation, we were able to expand our security camera system to help us monitor our most sensitive wildlife patients in real time. This is important because patients rarely demonstrate their normal behaviors in front of us due to their extreme fear of humans. With the help of these cameras, we have been able to watch patients heal and grow without our interference. The added bonus being that we can share this footage with our supporters!

Two times in the last year we have called Phil with Adobe Telecom with an urgent need for new cameras to be installed. The first when our two orphaned turkey vultures came into care and we needed to be able to monitor their progress without them being able to see us (read their full story in our Summer Newsletter). The second being when the first black bears arrived, and we needed not only to be able to watch them with cameras but also have them installed in a way that prevents these very ornery bears from being able to access them. Phil answered the call for help both times and went above and beyond to make sure that our extremely unique needs were met for these important projects. Next, Phil and his team will be helping us install cameras in the new Apex Predator Enclosure!

Join us in sending a huge heartfelt thanks to Phil and his team at Adobe Telecom! To learn more about their services, please click here.
Footage of the Black Bear Cubs interacting with their enrichment, obtained by our security cameras that were installed by Adobe Telecom.
BOMP Corner

A Look Back at 2021

Last year, Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue's BOMP Program serviced 559 Barn Owl Boxes throughout Sonoma County. From installing new boxes to monitoring and maintaining existing boxes, our BOMP team was busy as ever caring for the needs of our local barn owls.

In addition to servicing these boxes, BOMP fostered 1 barn owl with a wild mother, conducted 3 “hack” releases (where we provided food to the nearly fledged owlets inside of a barn owl box), and renested 10 barn owlets that had fallen from their nests prematurely!

Thanks to the use of wildlife cameras, we were able to capture some great footage of the owls interacting when we were not around. These videos were crucial in determining whether or not owls had been orphaned or just merely fell from their nest. They were also used by Humboldt State University in their barn owl studies, determining how barn owls take their first flights from their boxes.

Cheers to another successful year of BOMP and to our clients for their dedication to sustainable and wildlife friendly pest control!
Footage of a Barn Owl mother brooding chicks during our Spring Monitoring check in 2021.
Executive Director Doris Duncan renesting an owl that fell from its nest in July 2021.
Animal Care Spotlight
The first black bear cub to arrive at Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue in August 2021 receives a sedated exam by staff veterinarian, Dr. Dan Famini and Animal Care Director, Danielle McGuire.
The Exciting World of Bear Care
Since the first black bear cubs arrived in August 2021, we have learned so much about the species, their big personalities, and the things they need to thrive in care. Currently, the cubs are hunkered down for the winter, having gone into torpor. Torpor is less dramatic than hibernation, where bears are very low mentation, spending most of their days sleeping, but you may also see them come out on warmer days and then quickly wandering back to their den for more sleep. Since winters are over quickly in Sonoma County, we anticipate they will come out of torpor in the next several weeks.

Black bears are one of the few species that live in Sonoma County that need to be “over-wintered” under one year of age. Beavers and eagles are some of the other species that spend prolonged time with their parents in the wild and therefore are guaranteed to need specialized care beyond fall when raised in a rehabilitation setting.
Diet preparations for bear cubs loaded into back our mule consists of solely donated food.
Thanks to amazing community support, we were able to satisfy their insatiable appetites up until they went into torpor in mid-December. Our community signed up to bring delivery after delivery of fruit, vegetables, nuts, eggs, and enrichment to our center doors. These donations were able to feed beyond the bear cubs as well, helping us feed hundreds of other wildlife patients that came to our center from August through December!
Deep clean of bear enclosure on December 2, 2021. This clean took 10 staff members and volunteers 2 hours to complete. That’s 20 hours of hard labor put in for these bear cubs! 
Watch the bear cubs interact with their new cleaned up digs at 4:18 and 9:20.
The effort and knowledge that goes into the care for these cubs is incredible. On average, each enclosure clean takes 5 staff members 2 hours to compete! After cleaning and mucking out all the scat and dirty straw, we disperse enrichment and food throughout the enclosure. Thankfully, while learning all the “bear necessities”, we had amazing support from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Lake Tahoe Wildlife Rescue, Ramona Wildlife Center, Kilham Bear Center, San Diego Zoo and Lions, Tigers and Bears. We will also be visiting PAWS Wildlife Center in Lynnwood, Washington this spring. Each group has offered a profound professional hand when it came to dietary needs, enrichment ideas, enclosure requirements, phasing the bears into torpor, and consulting on best practices to keep these cubs wild.
Bear Cubs play in the water troughs inside their enclosure.
In observing the cubs for the past few months via surveillance cameras placed inside their enclosure, it’s clear to us that black bears are very smart and have big personalities to match their intelligence. The cubs in care spends their days eating, sleeping, chasing and wrestling with each other. Their favorite enrichment items seem to be stacks of hay bales that they wrestle and nap on, their water troughs that they cool off and play in, and a long log teepee shaped tunnel that the cubs forage and of course, chase each other around in. With these observations, it’s clear that we will need to spend a great deal of time and effort into planning long lasting and thoughtfully designed enrichment items for these cubs in our future Apex Predator Enclosure.

This spring, these cubs will return to their lives in the wild, contributing the health and wellbeing of the ecosystems they call home. While we are certain these will not be the last cubs that need our help, we are confident that we will never forget the incredible lessons learned while caring for them and the excitement they have brought to our center in the short time they spent with us.
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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