Jul 20, 2015

Increase in number of skunks caught in rat traps

This last week, in the Santa Cruz area, 3 skunks were rescued from rat traps within four days!

The first one was caught in a trap that was left set by a chicken coop. 

After getting its foot caught, the trap got stuck in fencing, which was actually a good thing, otherwise it might have run off.

The trap was removed and the youngster was transported to local skunk rehabilitator, Monique Lee.

The second skunk looked in pretty good shape -
 the trap appeared to have only caught its nails. Rescuers were able to remove the trap from its foot, but the skunks managed to get away before they could contain it.

The third skunk was seen wandering the streets near La Selva Beach Sunday afternoon. It appeared later in a backyard, a few houses away from where it had initially been trapped.

Check out the rescue video:

Check out the great news coverage, HERE.

Jun 26, 2015

Return to freedom

Thanks to the expert care received through Native Animal Rescue's skunk expert, Monique Lee, the skunk that was caught in a Gophinator trap was set free today in the woods just below where she was found. Click HERE for the original story. 

Jun 18, 2015

Rattlesnake entangled in erosion-control netting

This morning we were alerted of a rattlesnake that was stuck in plastic garden netting being used to control erosion in the Carmel Highlands.

The snake was first spotted on Sunday morning, but residents did not know who to call for help. Finally, they reached WES.

WES' founder, Rebecca Dmytryk, was on scene quickly, and removed the snake from the hillside. 

In its attempts to get through and free of the material, the snake had become more and more tangled and restricted. In minutes, though, and with help from the homeowner, the snake was freed.

The rattlesnake was taken in for supportive care. With luck it can be released within a week.

Check out the video of the rescue:

Rebecca had an early start with reptiles. At age 13 she was catching snakes, including rattlesnakes. She learned even more through a herpetology class that was offered at the high school she attended.
Looking back, I cannot imagine what my parents were thinking, but I am glad they allowed me the freedom to develop my skills and learn to respect these magnificent creatures. I am also grateful to Richard Lapidus. He taught herpetology at my high school. You don't see these types of extracurricular classes anymore, which is really too bad.

UPDATE: 7-2-15

After a while in care the rattlesnake was returned to its home in the mountains above Point Lobos.

Jun 17, 2015

Little skunk in a big plastic bag

This morning we were called to help rescue a baby skunk that a homeowner found in her garage, stuck in a large clear plastic bag. It must have wandered into the garage when the door was left open the evening before, and just happened to get itself stuck inside the bag as it was exploring. The skunk was immediately set free outdoors where it made a prompt exit into the bushes. Free again, at last!

Jun 16, 2015

Support the Coyote Challenge

By Rebecca Dmytryk

In addition to managing WES, my husband and I run a for-profit business where we help people resolve their conflicts with wildlife - be it a raccoon in the attic, a skunk under a shed, bats, rats, you name it.

When it comes to coyotes, we face a tough crowd. By the time we're contacted a coyote has often become a problem - there's been a loss or there's fear of an imminent attack. The animal is a perceived threat that must be removed without delay.

When it comes to coyotes, we find people are usually set in their misbeliefs and are far less willing to change their habits than with other species - less willing to adapt to living with these animals as part of their environment, less willing to invest in making modifications to their property even if that is what will solve the problem, yet, they are often quite demanding that something be done, admonishing local officials for not taking action to protect their home, family and pets.

For these people, we offer the Coyote Challenge.

The Coyote Challenge is our pushback to those who believe nothing less than lethal control will work. The Coyote Challenge is also a way for us to help those who truly cannot afford to invest in non-lethal control measures. 

In return, participants agree to share their account of the process and the results - which we expect will be that their coyote problem has been resolved, for good.

With each challenge being documented from beginning to end, we see this as a great opportunity to help people and coyotes while gathering conclusive evidence that non-lethal control methods do work.

The Coyote Challenge officially launched last month and we have 3 applications in the review process.

Duane and I will be donating our time, but we are hoping to collect about $1,500.00 to cover supplies, equipment and associated travel costs. Please help if you can.

For those who contribute $100.00 or more, we have a special treat - you'll be invited to share our journey through a private blog where we post each challenge with frequent updates.

Thank you for supporting the Coyote Challenge!

Jun 12, 2015

Taking a stand for our wildlife

By Rebecca Dmytryk

This week, the California Fish and Game Commission convened in Mammoth Lakes, CA.

These meetings, allow the public and other stakeholders an opportunity to have a voice in the management of our state's wildlife.

Understanding the Commission's role can be a bit confusing... In basic terms, California State Legislature creates Fish and Game laws. The Fish and Game Commission, consisting of an Executive Director and 5 members appointed by the Governor, implements regulations to further clarify Fish and Game Laws as well as set hunting and fishing regulations for the state. The Department of Fish and Wildlife along with the general public submit recommendations and supporting documentation to the Commission to assist them in their decision making.

Yesterday, I spoke before the Commission on trapping.

Last year, Dan Fox, president of Animal Pest Management, sent a letter to the Commission asking that a section of the regulations be modified to exempt licensed pest control operators from needing written consent from neighboring homeowners before they can set traps to take and kill wildlife.

Subsection of 465.5 (g)(3) was introduced in 1980 to protect people, children and pets from being harmed by potentially dangerous body gripping traps like the leghold, snare or conibear. It also protects neighbors’ rights to the shared resources – the resident wildlife. It provides them a voice – a say in the management of these animals – a right that should not be watered down or taken away, especially by big business.

This request to change the regulations is not about protecting people's property of managing problem animals as much as it is about money.

Pest control operators make an incredible living exterminating neighborhood wildlife, charging upwards of $100.00 per head. With a single backyard yielding 3 or more animals and the assurance of repeat business if nothing is done to prevent future conflicts, it's easy to see why trappers don't want anything to stand in their way.

Trapping and killing nuisance wildlife is an outdated practice. It is not a lasting solution as it does not address the actual problem. That said, the way trapping and killing is promoted in the pest control industry is, in my opinion, nothing short of a racket - conducted in the name of the State.

It's my hope the Commission, in its review of its predator management policies and trapping regulations, will require non-lethal control methods before lethal management is allowed, and, they do not strip away neighbors' rights to say how their wildlife is managed.

In researching this issue, I discovered something very disturbing: pest control operators are not required required to report how many animals they kill each year. Neither are those who trap privately on their own property.

Imagine if 2% of households in California used lethal methods to control wildlife. That could mean 250,000 mammals - fox, bobcat, raccoon, opossum, coyote, skunk and squirrel - exterminated each year without anyone knowing.

All other forms of take are documented but not the the toll by the pest control industry. To me, this seems negligent - that such a large number of wild animals - game, non-game and fur bearers can be killed each year and the State does not require documentation. 

Therefore, I requested the Commission's attention to this, asking that they consider modifying the trapping regulations to require annual reporting by pest control operators. Additionally, I asked that they come up with some method of reporting that would reduce double profiting by trappers. 

You see, a pest control operator who is also licensed for recreational trapping (a matter of ticking two boxes on their application) can trap a nuisance bobcat, skin it, then, during bobcat trapping season, they can say it was taken recreationally and then legally sell the pelt for $1,000.00 or more.

That, too - bobcat trapping, was on the Commission's agenda. The Bobcat Protection Act (more HERE), recently signed into law by Governor Brown, requires the Commission to amend bobcat trapping regulations and establish no-trapping zones. Thanks to Commissioner Rogers, a statewide ban is, once again, up for consideration.

If you have time, consider writing a letter to the Commission, expressing your support of a statewide ban on commercial and recreational bobcat trapping.

California Fish and Game Commission
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento, CA 94244-2090

Stay tuned!

Jun 1, 2015

Mallard hen and ducklings led to safety

This afternoon, a mallard hen and her newly hatched ducklings were found in a parking lot on the Google compound in Mountain View. Davis, a member of the Google family called WES for help. 

With guidance from our experts and help from a couple of other concerned Googlers, the ducklings were carefully collected into a milk crate.

Then, the team started a slow walk toward Permanente Creek - just a couple of blocks away. The hen followed, nervously.

Finally, they reached the creek! 

Following our direction, Davis gently dumped the ducklings out - all at once, and backed away. The hen quickly gathered their attention and led them into the stream and toward the wetlands.


May 21, 2015

Darted pigeon

WES volunteer responders, Johnie Kindle and Patricia Denn set to capture the injured bird.

On May 1st, WES was alerted of a pigeon with a dart in its neck at Lake Merritt in Oakland. A WES volunteer responded to attempt to capture the injured bird, but it was very wary and flew off, and we stopped receiving reports about it.

Then, on May 21st, we received another report about a pigeon at Lake Merritt - this one had two darts sticking out of its body. It looks to be the same bird.

This morning, WES volunteer responders met at the park. They were able to draw the bird close enough to net it. Check out the amazing video (A huge THANK YOU to Walter for filming!).

Another volunteer, Nancy Powell, transported the bird to WildCare for treatment.

A huge THANK YOU! to everyone who helped rescue this poor bird!

May 18, 2015

Skunk caught in a Gophinator

At the end of a long dirt road near Laguna Creek, in the hills above the redwoods, at the start of a closed-cone forest - in the middle of nowhere - a skunk was trapped in a Gophinator - a trap used to kill gophers and moles.

This particular trap was set inside a gopher tunnel, but the entry was not blocked well. A curious or hungry female skunk was able to access the trap and set it off. Her hand was crushed.

Duane and Rebecca released the skunk from the trap and transported her to Native Animal Rescue's skunk specialist, Monique, for evaluation and treatment. 

Sadly, we heard from Monique that the skunk was a lactating mother - she had kits left behind.

We called the landowner and asked if they would keep an eye out for little ones, but, so far, none has been seen. 

The mother skunk continues to improve thanks to the expert care she is receiving.

Stay tuned!

Want to support our rescue program? Small monthly donations go a long way. 
Remember to tick the box that says Make This Recurring. 

Second entrapped screech owl rescued!

A couple of weeks ago WES was called to rescue an entrapped screech owl from a professional building in Santa Clara (original post HERE). Today, another owl was found inside the building - possibly the same one!

Check out the video:

Responding as Humane Wildlife Control, Duane and Rebecca removed the little owl then took a look around the property to try and find how the owl entered the building. They found a possible spot which the company's maintenance crew will investigate further, being careful to look for a nest as Western screech owls are cavity nesters.

Stay tuned!

Fawn receives helping hand from weed abatement inspector

Last week, Los Angeles County Weed Abatement Inspector Ellen Walton was checking out a parcel in Glendale when she noticed a doe and her fawn on a hillside, standing near a couple of erosion gullies. 

The doe was behaving oddly - not leaving when Ellen appeared. Instead, it kept its attention on one of the deep cuts in the slope. 

Ellen climbed up the slope to investigate.

There, in the gully was a second fawn! It had fallen in and couldn't get out. 

Ellen quietly made her way down the hillside, sliding much of the way. The ravine was deep. She had to lay flat to reach the baby deer and lift it to safety.

Once she had the fawn on solid ground, Ellen aimed it toward its mother and let nature take its course. She watched as it went strait to its mom!


May 11, 2015

Red-tailed hawk rescue

By Deanna Barth

This evening, I received a call from Hollister Animal Control about an injured hawk. The address was just down the road from my home, so I was there in minutes. 

The property was vast, with pastures and rolling hills. 

The reporting party had been working in his yard when he heard a commotion high above him. He looked up to see what appeared to be two hawks fighting in mid air. Suddenly, one of them spun out of control and plummeted to the ground.  

He quickly crossed the field and found the hawk lying on its back with both wings extended. After sheltering the terrified bird with a tarp, he called the non-emergency police line for help.

Having the bird somewhat contained under the tarp made my job a little easier. 

I lifted a corner and peeked underneath to see what position the hawk was in. Once I knew where the talons were, I moved to that side.  

With one hand resting across the bird to prevent it from moving, I used my other gloved hand to gain control of the legs, then lifted the tarp.  

The red-tailed hawk was bright and alert and on cursory exam there was no obvious sign of injury. It was transported to the SPCA for Monterey Wildlife Center for further evaluation and care. 

UPDATE: 5-12-2015

The hawk suffered an injury to hallux, or hind toe. The bird, a female, was also slightly underweight. She will be held for about a week to get her weight up and to see if she can successfully catch prey, before returning her home.

Stay tuned!!!

UPDATE: 5-19-2015

After about a week of rehabilitative care the red-tailed hawk was ready for release. Deanna returned it to Stony Brook Drive in Hollister and set her free.

"There is nothing more rewarding then to release a once injured animal, now healthy, right back to where it came from."

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who participating in this birds rescue and recovery!

May 8, 2015

Five baby opossums get a second chance

By Deanna Barth

It was late Friday afternoon when I received a call from the Hollister Animal Shelter. A mother opossum had been hit by a car and witnesses had watched several of her babies go flying across the pavement.  

Animal Control Officer, Anna Patterson, arrived to find the mother opossum deceased and two of the six babies alive. 

Back at the shelter, she called me to pick up the two survivors. During our conversation she mentioned that one of the babies had landed precariously close to a storm drain. I knew the drain needed to be checked!

I drove to the intersection and peered through the grate and sure enough, there were three baby opossums at the bottom – and they were still moving! 

I informed Anna and she in turn contacted a city crew to remove the heavy grate for me.

Lying on my stomach, I was able to lift up the tiny babies with my net. They were ice cold!  

I placed them in a pillowcase on top of a snap heat pack to warm them up. 

It was close to 5pm and traffic was getting heavy. I drove toward the shelter to pick up the other two and called ahead to the SPCA for Monterey County Wildlife Center. They were kind enough to have a staff member meet me half way.

Hopefully, these tiny opossums will thrive and be able to return to the wild in the near future.

A huge thank you to Alex and Jake for 
helping me gain access to the storm drain!

May 4, 2015

Young girl helps great horned owlet

We just want to say a very special thank you to Jasmine (10) for helping a young great horned owl brancher get back into a tree where its parents could find and feed it.

Way to go, Jasmine!