Nov 27, 2013

WildHelp update

We're really excited to announce that we just finished the resource (wildlife rescue) sign-up form!

This form is how rescue organizations and other wildlife professionals from around the country will add their contact information to the WildHelp database.

This database is what the WildHelp app searches to find the nearest help for someone who's found an animal in trouble.

We also have a new web site. Click HERE to visit where you can find out about this life-saving tool that will revolutionize the way people find help for wild animals in distress.

If you're a wildlife professional, navigate to the Register page to get instructions on filling out the form.

If you missed out on supporting this valuable project through its Kickstarter pledge drive, it's not too late!

You can support the development of the WildHelp App with a tax-deductible contribution, HERE.

Do you have excellent phone or data entry skills? Consider helping us build the resource database by volunteering your time. Contact Rebecca Dmytryk at for information.

Nov 26, 2013

Rescue of a striped skunk

This morning we received a call through the Santa Cruz Animal Shelter about a skunk at a high school. A Watsonville Police officer was on scene.

The skunk was trapped in a narrow cement channel alongside a classroom - it had been there since Monday. 

Skunks are skilled excavators, but they don't climb well, not even short vertical walls. Without food and shelter, a trapped animal won't last long.

This particular skunk had been entrapped since Sunday night, so it'd been without food and water and exposed to the elements for at least one full day. To make matters worse, a few students were seen throwing rocks at it.

One student, though, a 9th grader, had the courage to try and save the poor animal. 

Earlier this morning, Luis and his friend Andrew tried to give the skunk a lift out of the channel, unfortunately though, during the process the skunk sprayed, thwarting their good deed.

WES was called to assist. Check out the video of its rescue below:

The skunk was taken back to WES headquarters, just a few miles away, and provided a warm, dark safe place to rest. It was offered a platter of scrambled egg, sliced apple, a mouse, a dollop of yogurt and some water. 

At dusk, the skunk, looking very bright and alert, was transported home, near where it was found. Luis was invited to participate.

To honor his extraordinary efforts to save the skunk, we allowed Luis to free the skunk. Once the door was open, everyone stood back, quiet and motionless as the crate was tipped. Skunks have very poor eyesight and will walk right by you if you're still.

Once the skunk was out of the crate, it took off, galloping passed Luis, across the parking lot and into a large open field adjacent the school. 

Before leaving, our team took the opportunity to share some information about skunks with Luis, like, that skunks are omnivores, feeding on rodents, invertebrates, fruits and vegetables, and insects. In the Native American practice of "animal medicine" - the awareness a particular animal can bring to one's consciousness, the skunk symbolizes self respect.

From Medicine Cards

Once again, a huge THANK YOU! to Luis for his compassion and courage! 
Thank you for caring enough to try and help an animal in distress. 
You're a real hero!

Nov 8, 2013

2014 Wildlife SAR Training

Jenni Campbell catches RoboDuck at a class in Malibu. Photo by Bret Hartman.

We've got a couple of dates set for our 2014 Wildlife Search and Rescue Training classes - one in Moss Landing, and the other in Berkeley. Go HERE to register now.

Our one-of-a-kind Wildlife SAR class covers human safety, animal capture strategies and equipment, wildlife handling and restraint techniques, basic wildlife first aid, and an introduction to reuniting and wild-fostering of healthy young. 

This course is recommended for animal control officers, park rangers, game wardens, and anyone interested in rescuing wildlife.

Nov 6, 2013

Highway Crossings

By Rebecca Dmytryk

39M, the young male mountain lion that wandered into downtown Santa Cruz earlier this year (link to our original story), is dead. 

He was struck and killed by a car on Highway 17 on October 31st. 

Please read more about 39M - his documented travels over the last 5 months, and about what's being done locally to improve highway crossings, HERE.

Urban development results in fragmentation of wildlands. Wildlife is forced into "island" habitats where natural and necessary migration between populations comes with great risk

Highway deaths and other human-caused mortalities have a tremendous impact on the overall health of wild populations. Maybe more than you might imagine.

It's not, simply, the loss of individuals, it's how they are taken out - indiscriminately. This goes against nature - against the natural law and order of things - survival of the fittest. 

Case in point: An adult male mountain lion - a proven survivor - was migrating into new territory, bringing valuable genetic material to the isolated Santa Monica Mountain's population. He was killed October 6th in his attempt to cross Highway 101.

Please read more about the lions of Southern California and what's being done there to reduce highway casualties, HERE.

Check out these two recommended reads on the subject:

The Spine of the Continent

Safe Passages