May 18, 2013

Local Wildlife Heroes

There were a few wildlife incidents this week that, had it not been for the individuals involved, could have ended quite differently.

We'd like to recognize these local heroes for their compassion, their smarts, their courage, and most of all - their will to help an animal in trouble.


Our first shout-out goes to Ron Hopping (22), for helping out some baby skunks.

It started about a week ago, when his father found a dead skunk in the side yard of the family's home in Soquel, CA. O
n Monday, Ron noticed 3 baby skunks hiding in some bushes in the back yard.

After bringing the family pets inside, Ron started calling around to find help.

Meanwhile, the four-week old kits made their way to the front yard and were headed for the front door. 


Ron had gotten some handling tips from a local wildlife rehabilitator, so he carefully covered the little ones with a large towel and then gently placed them into a box lined with a blanket. He added a sock of heated dry rice to keep them warm.

Later, the three female striped skunks, Meeny, Miny and Mo, were transported to Native Animal Rescue in Santa Cruz for foster care.


When asked about the rescue, Ron said he isn't afraid of skunks, in fact, he misses the smell of skunk - it reminds him of his late canine companion, Bubba, a Newfoundland that used to get sprayed from time to time. 

We've invited Ron to join our Skunk Team!

Caring for orphaned carnivores can be costly. If you would like to help cover some of the costs of fostering these three little ones, we're raising funds to purchase 8,000 mealworms and 130 frozen mice for the rehabilitator. Go HERE to chip in.


Saved by Sgt. Ridgway from a perilous predicament. 

Our next shout-out goes to Lieutenant Brian Ridgway of the Watsonville Police Department who courageously helped a snake out of harm's way... a big snake. A very, very big snake.

It was early evening when WES received a call from Watsonville Police Dispatch requesting assistance with a large constrictor-like snake. Someone had reportedly tossed the snake from their vehicle in the parking lot of the Watsonville Taco Bell.

On scene, Sgt. Ridgway found the large serpent slithering 
along the gutter. With cat-like reflexes he apprehended the near five-foot-long gopher snake, grabbing it behind the head. He placed the snake in an evidence bag until WES responders arrived.

The snake was released into a nearby field.


Check out the video of the gopher snake coiled, hissing and vibrating its tail in a defensive posture.



Our next shout-out goes to Nicole Lambert who helped reunite a mother raccoon with her babies.

Nicole works at a Lowe's. On Wednesday morning, as Lowe's employees were preparing to move one of the pallets in the garden section, they discovered a mother raccoon and her young sleeping in between the warm sacks of mulch. 

After being disturbed, the mother raccoon ran off, carrying her 3-week old baby gently in her mouth, and the pallet was moved.

Hours later, the mother raccoon appeared by the cash registers where the pallet had been. Nicole instinctively knew there must still be at least one baby left.


She was right. There were two left behind.

The cubs were placed inside a cardboard box and taken indoors.


Reunited with mom thanks to Nicole Lambert!
A little while later, Nicole was working in the flowers section when she said the mother raccoon approached her, touched her pant leg, made eye contact with her, then walked off. 

Nicole knew she just had to help this mom get her babies back.

After convincing management to bring the box back outside, she situated the cubs in a quiet spot at the back of the garden section. When the mother returned again, Nicole herded her in that direction. The mom was a bit confused until Nicole tilted the box to show her the cubs. The mom immediately gathered one cub and came back for the last one a few hours later.


A huge Thank You! to Ron Hopping, Lt. Brian "Tarzan" Ridgway, and Nicole Lambert for going out of your way to help an animal in need.