Aug 28, 2014

GBHE in trouble

Photo by Kim Moore.
A great blue heron at El Dorado Park in Long Beach awaits rescue. The injury to its foot from fishing line, has gotten worse and worse over the last few weeks. WES will attempt a rescue this Sunday.

Photo by Kim Moore.

Aug 23, 2014

Poolside rescue in Los Gatos



Last night, late, we received a report of water bird, poolside, at a residence in Los Gatos. Photographs from the reporting party revealed it was a cormorant.

Cormorants are not able to fly from a standing position - they take flight by scuttling across the water - looking as though they're walking on water as they gain elevation.

Cormorants, loons, and grebes get stuck when they land in a body of water that doesn't allow them enough room to take flight. 

After a rain, these species can be found grounded on dark paved roads, having mistaken the reflective surface of the asphalt for water (Ouch!).

The next morning, the resident confirmed the bird was still in her yard. The Bear Family accepted the call.

Andrew Bear, his wife Charlotte, and son Benjamin have signed up as WES volunteer First Responders. 

Andrew has a tremendous amount of experience with wildlife capture and handling techniques as he also volunteers at the WIldlife Center of Silicon Valley, and he's teaching his family how to rescue animals.

Here's their report from the field:
When we arrived, the cormorant was standing at the pool's edge. As I approached, it jumped into the pool.
I wanted to try to capture it on land, so I got in the pool to pressure it out of the water. 
As planned, it jumped out and ran into a corner of the backyard. 
I jumped out of the pool and got within inches of netting the bird, but he slipped by me and back into the water. 
I decided to up our chances of catching it on land, and took the few minutes to set up a length of bird netting, creating a wall of net. If the bird went back into that same corner of the yard, which was likely, Charlotte and Benjamin could lift up the wall of netting and we'd have him contained.


I went back into the pool and was able to get the cormorant to hop back out.  
I was going to try and pressure him towards the area where we had the net set up, but noticed he was allowing me to get pretty close. 
I was handed the net and positioned it where I thought he would jump into the water. As predicted, he made for the water and I netted him as he dove!

WELL DONE BEAR FAMILY!!!!

Aug 17, 2014

Raccoon rescued from metal drain cover

By Rebecca Dmytryk

For transport, the raccoon was placed in an open pet carrier with the metal plate securely tied to a wooden frame.

This morning, we were contacted by Officer Montes with the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter - he had a difficult rescue at hand. 

An adult raccoon had managed to get its head stuck in a metal drain cover. The sheet of diamond steel was about 3' long and maybe 2 1/2' wide and 3/8" thick. 



Evidently, the raccoon had tried to come up through one of the holes cut out of the steel plate. 

Residents woke to find the cover upturned and the raccoon struggling to free itself. They immediately called for help.

On scene, Officer Montes used soapy water to try and ease the animal's head back out of the hole, with no luck. 

If the animal was going to be saved, the metal would have to be cut. 



The raccoon was carefully loaded into the animal control truck and transported to the shelter where its fate would be decided.

Knowing WES specializes in difficult wildlife rescues, Officer Montes reached out to us for help.

Duane and I happened to be close by, headed for breakfast. We pulled off the freeway to hit the Home Depot for a few tools, and arrived at the shelter in less than 30 minutes. 

The animal had been placed in a quiet exam room, on the floor, with various items keeping the metal plate from crushing it. 

The raccoon appeared fairly calm - tired, but otherwise in excellent physical condition. The abrasions around its neck were superficial - if we could get if free from the metal plate, it could be released come nightfall. But, it needed to be sedated for the extraction. 

To date, we have found no veterinarians in the Santa Cruz area, willing to treat adult wild mammals like raccoons and bobcats. Because of this, salvageable animals face euthanasia.

IF THERE ARE ANY VETERINARIANS IN SANTA CRUZ COUNTY INTERESTED IN WORKING WITH WILDLIFE, PLEASE LET US KNOW.

It was Sunday. Highway 17 was jammed with beach goers. We would have to transport the animal over the hill to meet WES' field veterinarian, Dr. Chad Alves.

We placed the body of the raccoon in the bottom half of a pet carrier and secured the metal plate to a wooden frame so it wouldn't slide during transport.

Fifty minutes later, Duane made the first cut into the metal, using a grinder. Wet pillowcases shielded the raccoon from any sparks, and water was used to keep the metal wet and cool. (Don't miss the awesome video, below.)

It took just over thirty minutes and nearly every bit of battery power to cut through the thick steel plate.




Once the animal was free, Dr. Alves performed an examination and treated its wounds. As he was finishing the exam, the raccoon was starting to come around. 

The raccoon was placed inside a pet carrier and provided grapes, watermelon and a bowl of water. By nightfall, it should be ready to be released.

Throughout the day, the animal snacked on fruit and napped off the sedative.

At dusk, we transported the animal back home. We walked the carrier to a wooded hillside and placed it down facing a culvert where we were told it frequents. Duane opened the cage door... 

I have never seen a raccoon gallop so fast! Slappity-slappity-slappity-slappity, its leather soles of its feet hit the pavement as it shot towards the trees, banking right at the culvert and it was gone from sight.


THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED THIS AMAZING ANIMAL!


Wildlife Emergency Services is a small, all-volunteer program - we have no paid staff, no salaried employees. We rely on contributions to cover fuel, equipment, supplies and insurance. Please, help ensure our ability to continue providing our valuable services by making a contribution. Thank you so much!




Make checks payable to W.E.S. PO Box 65 Moss Landing, CA 95039


Check out the rescue video:






Aug 16, 2014

Return to freedom

By Rebecca Dmytryk




Last night, the Byington bobcat (his story, HERE) was released back into its domain at the winery after spending 7 weeks in rehabilitative care at the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley.






We want to thank Byington Winery for providing our guests with an opportunity to taste their delicious wines during a fundraising reception for WES and WCSV, held prior to the release. 

It is events like these that help our two charitable organizations continue providing wildlife rescue and rehabilitation services to the community.

A huge THANK YOU! to the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley and Adobe Animal Hospital for bringing this gorgeous animal back to life!

In case you missed the event and would like to support WES with a donation, click the Donate button below. Thank you!





Aug 3, 2014

Downtown woodpecker

By Rebecca Dmytryk



It was late in the afternoon when we got a call about an acorn woodpecker entrapped in the underground parking structure of 50 West San Fernando, in downtown San Jose. The address was familiar - we'd been there before for an entrapped bird...

Duane and I just happened to be in the area, so we responded.

According to Mike, the security guard who reported the bird in trouble, the bird was first spotted yesterday.

When Duane and I arrived, the bird was perched on a pipe up against a wall. 



Instead of grabbing a net and chasing after it, we needed to test its behavior to see how it would react to approach. 

It may seem counter productive to "push" a bird from it's resting spot, but in situations like this - where you have a flighted bird in an enclosed space, this information is critical to a successful capture strategy.

Mike said the bird seemed to gravitate to this one particular area - where it was perched. By walking close to the bird, we gently pressured it to move off. Indeed, it quickly returned to that same area.

A few minutes later, it flew to the ground and began picking at crumbs. It was hungry. Good.

Believing the bird would land in that general area again, and seeing that it was hungry and comfortable landing on the ground for food, Duane and I set up a drop trap. 

With the trap set, I would try to encourage the bird back to that area, hoping it would be attracted to the seeds and grain and apple bits underneath.

I walked the parking garage, applying pressure for the bird to move on. Surprisingly, the bird allowed me fairly close before it would fly... but not close enough to get it with a net... too many obstacles.

After about 5 minutes of gently "pushing" the bird from various pipes and landings, the woodpecker settled on the ground, in a corner (Yes!) and was intent on pecking at something it took for food.

Just in case it allowed me close enough, I grabbed a long-handled hoop net. 

These birds are very sensitive to movement - I needed to be sure the bag, or sock, of my net was not hanging down  - it needed to be taught. 

I began my stealthy approach toward the bird. Left fingertips pulling the bag tight over the net's handle. Right hand gripping as far back on the pole as possible for the greatest reach.

Cat-like, moving ever so slowly - freezing whenever the bird's eyes were on me, inching closer when it looked away.

I knew my moment would be when the bird's head is turned and it's focused on that bit on the ground... wait.

Heart racing, breathing accelerated.

Finally, it turned and started raking its bill on the ground. That was it.

I lunged. The bird popped up and over the hoop, I repositioned the hoop in front of it - in the direction I knew it would travel  - and bagged the bird! Yes!

Thrilled.

As I processed the now-screaming woodpecker from the netting, Mike brought over the carrier so we could safely shuttle it up the stairs to freedom.

Check out the video of its release:



THANK YOU MIKE BETHEL FOR HELPING SAVE THIS BIRD'S LIFE!!!! 





Aug 1, 2014

Goose Deuce

Andrew Bear is one of WES' newer First Responders. He joined WES earlier this year after completing our Wildlife Search and Rescue training. Andrew's pretty much up for anything - he's helped in a Western screech owl reunion, and he's become quite the goose wrangler. 

Here is his story of two recent goose rescues. 




On July 26th, late in the afternoon, I received an email from a Vasona Park ranger that there was a Canada goose with fishing line wrapped around its leg. It was reportedly near the boat rental dock. 

I had met this ranger, and several others, earlier in the year when I'd spotted another Canada with an infected and swollen foot. I and was able to capture it quickly while the ranger observed. I gave this ranger several business cards from Emergency Wildlife Services and encouraged him to report injured wildlife to WES.

I arrived at the dock later in the evening, and there were no Canada geese nearby. I decided to go a little further along the bank of the reservoir, where I have seen them gather before. 

As I stood there looking at the flock with my binoculars, two geese came ashore from the water directly in front of me: one limping with fishing net embedded in its leg!


The Canada goose allowed me to get fairly close…within about six feet, but not closer. I didn’t want the goose to fly away, so when the goose looked about to fly off, I backed off. 

I took out some bird seed mix I had in a baggy in my pocket and scattered some near my feet. As some of the birds became interested in my offerings, I ever so slowly unfolded a bed sheet and held it around my waist like a skirt. 

The injured goose pecked at the bird seed, but stayed about six feet away, no closer. 


I decided to be patient, and so we did this dance: me scattering bird seed to attract the goose, the goose watching me warily until I was a comfortable distance away, then eating the seed.  

We did this dance for nearly 40 minutes.

Then, at one point, the injured goose was positioned between me and some bushes that would not allow the goose much take off room. 

I waited for that moment - for the bird to put its head down.

The goose looked down and began eating the seed - I threw the sheet over him/her, then grabbed the sheet-wrapped goose in a way that stabilized its wings against my body.

Success!

I transported the goose the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley (a few minutes before closing time—thank you staff!), where they were able to cut the line off the goose’s leg and treat its wound. It would remain at the wildlife hospital until its leg was completely healed.


The next morning I received another email from the Vasona Park ranger, saying that the goose that was spotted with fishing line around its leg is still there, that I must have caught another Canada goose with fishing line around it’s leg! 

I returned to Vasona Park, went to the flock just past the boat rental dock again, and immediately saw a goose limping. As I got closer, I saw a much larger amount of fishing line around its leg.

This goose was not putting any weight on its left leg.  

I had my bag of seed and sheet with me, as usual. As I took out the seed, geese raced from all over, honking with wings spread out, with much excitement. 

As the flock was in the throes of excitement, I was able to maneuver into positions was close to the injured goose, and captured him/her quickly. 

Back to the wildlife center!


UPDATE: 8-15-2014

Both geese rescued by Andrew made full recoveries and were released today, back where they were captured. Check out the great video below.









WAY TO GO ANDREW!!!!! 

THANK YOU FOR YOUR AWESOME WORK! 

A HUGE THANK YOU TO THE WILDLIFE CENTER OF SILICON VALLEY WHERE 
THESE BIRDS RECEIVED THE MEDICAL CARE NEEDED FOR THEM TO SURVIVE!



If you want to help cover the cost of gas or supplies or support our 
field response capabilities, consider making a donation of any size.

Thank you!!!



If you'd like to become a volunteer First Responder like Andrew, sign up HERE.






Jul 28, 2014

The shapely skunk

This morning, WES was called to respond to a skunk trapped in a fence - she was stuck between a wooden fence and a chain-link fencing. 

There was only one way out - through a gap in the wooden fence, but the adult skunk couldn't quite manage her way through... she kept getting stuck at the hips. 

Finally, she made it... 



WES has responded to quite a few emergencies involving skunks caught in fences - always caught at the hip. We have even been called to extract a carcass of a skunk that died, caught in a gap between a wooden fence and a wall. 

So, check your yard and patch any ground-level gaps that are 3" or smaller to prevent traveling skunks from getting stuck.

The skunks wide skull also gets stuck in objects, like plastic lids and food container - most infamously, Yoplait's original vercon-shaped cup, which has killed countless wild animals in the past 35 years.

If you haven't yet signed our petition, please do so now, HERE.



Jul 25, 2014

Baby Skunk v T-Rex


Another juvenile skunk was found caught by a T-Rex. 

The Trapper T-Rex is one of the newer rat traps, known for its "teeth" and "ferocious" grip. 

The force behind these spring-loaded snap traps are meant to kill mice and rats quickly and the interlocking "teeth" make escape nearly impossible... for any animal.

Today, we received a call from a resident of Soquel - she saw a skunk walk through her yard dragging, what she described as, a cow bell.

We knew right away what it was. 

Last year, we rescued a poor skunk that had gotten the tip of her snout caught. She eventually lost her nose. Read her story, HERE.

After searching the premises, we finally found it hidden in a drainage area. Check out the video of its rescue, below.


The skunk was transported to skunk expert, Monique, where it is recovering. 

While it is not illegal to place rat or mouse traps outdoors, there should be a warning to consumers about the risk snap traps pose to other animals - cats, dogs, and wildlife. We will be contacting Bell Laboratories, makers of this type of mechanical trap and asking them to add some cautionary language on packaging and promotional material.





Jul 19, 2014

Skunks in a storm drain




This morning we received a call about two skunks that were trapped in a storm drain in Santa Cruz. The reporting party said she'd heard them in the night.

Duane and Rebecca arrived to find the skunks partially submerged in water.

One was in good shape, the other appeared a bit worse off, suffering from hypothermia.

A cage was prepared. Instant reusable heat packs (Thank you donors!) were placed inside a pillow case on the floor of the cage.


Instant reusable heat packs. Thank you donors for sending us these!!!

Using a long-handled dip net, Duane scooped up the coldest skunk and placed it inside the carrier. 

The second one was a bit more lively.

With both animals contained, their condition could be evaluated.

The liveliest one immediately started to dig at the grates to get free. It was released immediately on site.

The second one was given time to warm up.

After about 30 minutes, its shivering had subsided and it, too, was digging at the sides of the cage to get out.

After consulting with local skunk expert, Monique, the skunk was set free on site. It loped off, following the path of the first skunk, behind a wall, through a rose garden, and under a fence.

Home free.

Check out the heartwarming video:





Help us continue serving the community by making a donation, today. 

Thank you!




Jul 15, 2014

Hollister Rescue Team

One of our long-time volunteers and Lead Responder, Deanna Barth, is now heading up wildlife emergency response in her hometown of Hollister, California. Calls originate through WES' emergency number (831) 429-2323 or from an agency, and then forwarded to Deanna - at least that's how it's supposed to go...

Many in the town of Hollister are familiar with Deanna and her knowledge and skills with dogs and cats, and now wildlife. Often she'll be contacted for help by friends or neighbors.

Below, Deanna tells of two recent rescues:
Last night, a friend of mine called about a message she'd received from another neighbor. They'd found two mourning doves in the front yard of a newly sold home. I was asked to take a look.

The doves had built a shallow nest on top of a column. Neighbors had tried to place the babies back in the nest but they kept leaping out. As expected - they were fledglings, not nestlings and were not about to stay put!  
It was about 8:30 PM. There were no adult birds in sight, but plenty of cats!
Normally, we instruct people to leave fledglings on low branches or under a bush and not to separate them from their parents - even if there are cats in the area.


In this case, however, with at least two cats fixated on the young ones, I opted to take them in for the night.
I placed them inside a box with a Snap heat pack to one side and kept them in an isolated room - warm, dark, quiet. 
Early the next morning, just after sunrise, I returned to the nest site and was happy to see several adult mourning doves in the vicinity - more importantly, no cats!   
I placed the fledglings in a bush beneath the nest and they immediately fluttered up to the top of the fence. I watched from a distance for a few minutes. All was well. 
A few hours later I checked the location again and was thrilled to see one adult dove on the rooftop and another on the fence directly above the side yard. When I peeked over the fence where I had last seen the fledglings, there they were, resting on the ground.   
I left a note for the new homeowners, letting them know that the doves had been returned to their yard and to please leave them be. Their best chance of survival is to be raised by their wild parents.   
Success!
That evening, I was alerted of a possibly injured egret in Hollister. 
The homeowner had noticed the bird in her backyard around noon. When it was still there several hours later, she became concerned, but was unsure who to call.   
By the time I was notified, it was 9:30 PM.   

When I arrived on scene, the homeowner escorted me through the backyard. The bird was obviously ill; facing the corner and in a hunched position. 
It didn’t look like the bird would put up much of a fight, but I’ve learned not to assume a rescue will be easy, so, I put on my safety glasses just in case.   
I walked around the perimeter of the yard to determine what the bird’s exit points would be when I approached it. Luckily, it had chosen a perfect location for capture.   


I took a large dark sheet and approached the bird slowly, from behind. It made a feeble attempt to move left and I scooped it up rather easily.   
I felt, immediately, how thin and weak this bird was. I placed it in an animal crate with a heating pad so it could rest comfortably over night.   
The next morning it was transferred to the SPCA for Monterey Wildlife Center. 
Thank you to the homeowner, Kathleen Diekmann, for showing such care and concern for the egret!

 UPDATE: 7-19-14

SPCAMC Wildlife Center staff informed us that the  great egret was, indeed, emaciated. Other than some bruising on its back, it did not have any significant injuries. The bird was placed on a special diet and once strong enough, it will be transferred to International Bird Rescue for further care. If all goes well, it will be released!


If you'd like to volunteer to help with rescues in Hollister, CA, please contact Deanna.
  

Jul 9, 2014

Deep, deep trouble

By Rebecca Dmytryk




This afternoon we received a call from Joshua Francis, Construction Project Manager at the University of California Santa Cruz. He's overseeing a renovation project at Merrill College. 

Earlier in the day, there had been some sort of commotion around one of the large drilled holes - holes that were to be filled with iron rods and cement. An adult raccoon kept venturing onto the site near one of the pits. Apparently, two juvenile raccoons had fallen in and were trapped.

At first the young raccoons were active and chattering, but as the day went on they huddled close and became silent. Joshua, an animal lover, threw a thick rope down into the deep hole, hoping the young raccoons would climb out. Then, he reached out for help and was referred to WES.

It was close to 6:00 PM when Duane and I arrived on scene. The construction crew had left for the day, so the site was quiet. 




Joshua showed us the hole and how it had not been adequately covered or blocked off to prevent animals from falling in - something he's committed to improving on future construction projects.

The pit was about 35' deep and about 3' wide. To complicate matters, the floor of the pit was not flat - the drill left a bit of a depression on one side - a nice spot for the cubs to hide.

We didn't have exactly the piece of equipment ideal for this situation, but we had the makings for one. We decided to try a few other methods first...



Duane rigged a collapsable-spring-loaded fabric bag that could be triggered to pop-up manually, entrapping the little ones inside... but we could not maneuver them into it. Next, we lowered a bal-chatri, hoping we might get lucky and snare a limb. Nope. Duane tried a noose, and got close a few times, but, no luck.

At one point, the mother showed up! She approached close, so we backed her away to a redwood tree where she watched and waited for some time.



It was getting dark when we called the Santa Cruz Fire Department University Station to see if they might have some ideas or some sort of contraption, or maybe a way to get someone inside the hole. 

Captain Graff, Joel Dimauro and Daniel Vaggioli were there within minutes. While they were very keen on helping us, there was little they could do. 



Because it was such a deep hole, it was considered a "confined space", which meant there were special requirements for anyone entering. Because it was an earthen hole that could collapse, it would have to be reenforced... 

So, no one was going to be going into the hole. 

We would have to make do with what we had to work with.



That said, one of the firemen helped us rig a specialized net. The aim was to replace the shallow sock with a deeper sock made (sadly) from one of our expensive panels of material meant for our Coda Net Launcher... the material was perfect for this application.

When capturing an animal with any type of netting, you want to consider its purpose. In most cases, like when netting a bird, you want to do the least amount of harm to its feathers, so you must select the smallest mesh where the bird will not become entangled. In other cases, like this one, we needed the mesh to be large enough where the animal's head and limbs would get caught and tangled.

After painstakingly cable-tying the netting to the hoop we lowered it into the pit. We controlled the metal hoop with one rope, and the mesh bag with string. It was like working a marionette... from 30' above!

I controlled the net's position at the base of the hole, while Duane encouraged the cubs to move out of their hiding spots and under the net using a metal rod on the end of a rope. Joshua continued to supply us with light from our 2-plus-pound flashlight that he'd been holding for at least 2 hours.


Within about 15 minutes, we had one of the cubs under the hoop. Loosening up on the string holding the netting material - letting it fall on top of the cub, and with a couple of pokes from Duane, the cub started to panic and get tangled in the fabric - just what we wanted. When we were confident the cub was securely inside the sock, we quickly pulled it up to the surface.

Once we started untangling the baby from the net, it started crying, which drew the mother. 

Once out of the net, we placed the baby inside an animal carrier to assess its condition. Cold and a bit dehydrated, it was in good shape, especially considering the fall it had taken. 

As we lowered the net to capture the sibling, the mother raccoon approached the carrier and the two chattered back and forth.

It wasn't long before we had the second cub. This time,  the cub walked on top of the net. We had to release all tension on the material and drive the cub into the sock. It worked!

Both cubs looked to be in good shape, so we decided to reunite them with their mom, right away. Duane opened the carrier door while I released the second cub. After a moment of chaos, the family was reunited and off on their way through campus. It was about 9:30 PM.

Snippets from the rescue:




A HUGE THANK YOU TO JOSHUA FRANCIS FOR GOING OVER AND
BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY TO HELP THESE BEAUTIFUL CREATURES!!!

Thank you to Santa Cruz Fire Department for assisting with the rescue!!

Thank you to Roger "Pops" Titus for helping document the rescue!



WES is an all-volunteer-run organization supported solely by donations.







Jul 8, 2014

The eaglet landed...

Photo courtesy ESWC.

On July 1st, locals of the June Lake area (CA) watched as one of two older, bald eagle chicks, doing a lot of flapping in its nest, fell - hung upside down holding onto a branch with one foot, then fell through tree limbs to the ground below. 

Photo courtesy ESWC.

A rescue team from Eastern Sierra Wildlife Rescue responded, collected the "brancher", and took it back to the clinic for a thorough examination.

With no apparent injuries, except a possible sprained left foot which healed quickly, they knew the eaglet needed to get back with its family unit.

Returning it to its original nest some 80' high in a Ponderosa pine was not an option. 

A large juniper on a small cliff edge, with an uninterrupted view of the nest and nest tree would have to do. 




Three days later, on July 4th, ESWC's reuniting team set out to return the chick to its family.

With help from a bucket truck provided by B.Z. Miller Construction, Kevin Calder and Mike Aguirre erected a platform in the juniper tree. 

Once the eaglet was placed on the platform, the team left the area immediately and watched from afar.

Photo courtesy ESWC.




Photo courtesy ESWC.

The eaglet stayed on the platform for 3 days, doing a lot of flapping; then relocated to a large rock outcropping. All the while, the parents tended to both chicks. 

On 7/23, a local resident observed both immature eagles in the tallest Jeffrey (pine) on the dome. They were joined by both parents. 

"One eaglet flew a short circuit around the dome and returned to the perch. His flying and landing skills are not yet perfected, but he made it."

Success!!!




Jul 7, 2014

Return of the Marmot

By Sammarye Lewis




Re-naming my old Prius the Marmot Mobile, I picked up the adventurous San Francisco Yellow-Bellied Marmot from the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley early this morning. 

The animal was confined in a large animal crate with a yummy buffet of carrots, celery, peanuts and blueberries for his breakfast, while traveling back to his home in Yosemite.  
  
I could hear Mister Marmot crunching away as we drove in silence (never use any radio when transporting an animal because it can stress them out).  I stopped along the way and peeked in the crate. He was burrowed under a bed of pillowcases, snoozing away.

Destination was May Lake, which is about 42 miles from the entry point of Yosemite Park, up Tioga Road, and then a few miles of dirt road that was heavily rutted with potholes almost as big as my car.

I parked at the trailhead to the May Lake High Sierra Camp where we believe the marmot originally hitched its ride to the Bay Area. 

A very helpful family helped me carry the large crate up the trail. I chose the release spot off from the trail, near a huge bunch of boulders.  

Facing the crate up the mountain, I opened the door. Nothing... We waited.  Nothing.  Waited. Nothing. The marmot was not coming out of the crate.

Photo by Sammarye Lewis

To give him a little encouragement, I removed the top half of the crate, then backed away.  Mister Marmot sat there, blinking in the sunlight.

With the mountain and grassy meadow welcoming him back to his home grounds, Mister Marmot, to my great astonishment and dismay, scampered back down the trail toward the parking lot. Dashing by hikers, he ran beside the bathrooms, beside the dumpsters. He ran diagonally across the parking lot and jumped up under a Toyota Prius. Right back where his adventure started three weeks ago. Unbelievable!!!

I walked back down to the parking lot to check it out. The Prius had a FasTrak device on the windshield, indicating it was from the Bay Area! Unbelievable...

Photo by Sammarye Lewis

Hoping the marmot had run under the car and out the other side, I accepted a hiker's offer to look up under the car with a flashlight. 

Sure enough, there he was, hiding in the engine compartment.

OK. So now I go to Plan B. I placed a line of blueberries in front of car, heading into the meadow, hoping this would tempt the marmot out of hiding. I withdrew to a secluded spot across the parking lot to watch. 

I never thought a remote location could be so busy. There was a continuous stream of cars and people coming and going from the tiny parking lot. So, every time the marmot ventured down onto the ground, either a group of noisy hikers or a loud car would frighten the animal back into hiding.

After about an hour, it quieted down, and Mister Marmot cautiously made his way from the Prius, over to a set of dumpsters. I sighed in relief. Finally. 

Photo by Sammarye Lewis

Just then, from down the trail came an outfitter with four horses and riders leading four pack mules. One of the mules was burdened with a full-size mattress. Seriously? 

Talk about noise! Like a shot, the marmot headed back to you-know-where.

Again, I waited and watched the whistle pig play hide and seek, then after about an hour of not seeing the marmot, I went over and looked under the Prius. A nice guy from Germany came over with a flashlight and crawled underneath, looking in every nook and cranny. The marmot was gone.

Photo by Sammarye Lewis


I left a note on the hood of the Prius, asking the owners to check under the hood before they leave. There really should be warning signs or some how warn visitors of the potential hitchhikers.

It was almost 6pm when I bid farewell to Mister Marmot, wherever he was hiding - Safe Travels.
  









A huge THANK YOU! to everyone who contributed gas money!!!