Sep 30, 2013

Injured goose at Hellyer Park

By Deanna Barth

Yesterday, I answered an emergency call about an injured Canada goose in Hellyer Park, in San Jose. 

I’ve been to Hellyer Park quite a few times when doing “my rounds", so I knew what to expect. There could be, literally, hundreds of geese there. With that in mind, I brought my 7 year old daughter along to help.  

When we arrived, sure enough, the park was full of Canada geese, each one looking nearly identical to the next.  

We were looking for a goose with fishing line wrapped around its leg. Many of the geese were "resting". We'd have to "ask" them to stand to get a peek at their legs.

I reminded my daughter how to approach the birds - close enough to encourage them to stand, but slow enough not to scare them off.  

She took one side of the path, I took the other.   

We'd gotten about 40 birds to stand, when I spotted the injured one. 

It had fishing lined wrapped tightly around its leg, cutting into its skin. The leg was severely swollen. 

On approach, it limped a couple of inches, then sat back down. A few geese in the surrounding flock pecked at the weak one. I'd need them to move off if I was going to catch this poor bird.

I handed some crumbles to my daughter and asked her to entice them away.  

With just a few geese around me, I began tossing crumbles toward the injured bird, maneuvering it into place on my right side. As soon as I felt it was within arm's reach, I slowly crouched beside it, waited for the right moment, then pounced.  

I got it!

I gathered the big bird's wings and placed a pillow over its eyes to reduce visual stress. We loaded it into a carrier and transported it to the wildlife hospital - Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley. With luck, it will recover from this injury to be released back to the wild.

UPDATE: Unfortunately, the injury was so severe, the goose was euthanized. 

Sep 27, 2013

WildHelp Update

by Rebecca Dmytryk

Great news! The WildHelp pledge drive on Kickstarter has re-launched, and we've received a tremendous response so far

To get funded through Kickstarter, we have to reach or exceed our goal. It looks like we'll be successful. But, having reduced our the amount so drastically, we're going to be shy of needed funds.

We're hoping to make up the difference though, through donations made to Wildlife Emergency Services, specifically for WildHelp.

Here's how you can make WildHelp App a reality:

To back this project on Kickstarter, go HERETo make a tax-deductible donation for WildHelp, click HERE or mail checks to: WES Box 65, Moss Landing, CA 95039 

Whatever you do, don't forget to share this link far and wide:

Check out the new edited-down video with added music:

Sep 26, 2013

Barbaric trap snares raccoon

Today, the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley received a severely injured raccoon - a victim of a barbaric, body-gripping trap called a Duke dog-proof trap.

In California, body-gripping traps are prohibited for recreation and the fur trade, with restricted use when protecting property or for public health and safety. 

Additional regulations govern the setting of traps, including cage-type "humane" traps. For example, traps must be clearly labeled with a number registered with the Department of Fish and Wildlife. This trap had no visible identification.

The raccoon's front paws were caught in two separate traps, set in the ground and tethered to something by a wire chord. The animal managed to chew through the chord, only to get hung-up on a fence. 

The adult male raccoon was recovered by San Jose Animal Care and Services and delivered to the wildlife hospital where it was quickly tended to by medical staff.

Once anesthetized the traps were removed from the animal's swollen limbs, revealing severe injures - a fractured left paw and right wrist. Additionally, the raccoon's tail was horribly mangled, requiring amputation. 

Duke, as he's being called, has a long way to go before he's able to be returned to the wild, if at all. 

WES is collecting pledges toward a reward fund for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for this crime. You can email us a pledge or send a check that we'll hold while the investigation is carried out. Reward fund checks can be sent to WES at Box 65 Moss Landing CA 95039.

If you have any information about this crime, please call the California Department of Fish and Wildlife CalTip line at 888-334-2258.

To make a donation to the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley to help cover the cost of Duke's care and medical treatment, click HERE.

Sep 21, 2013

WildHelp Update

By Rebecca Dmytryk

I might be an eternal optimist, but something tells me, with only hours left and about $15,000.00 left to raise, we're not going to reach our goal. 

This means the WildHelp project will receive nothing from our Kickstarter campaign.

Zero. Zip. Nada.

We'll be back to square one... well, square 3, really...

Weeks ago, our team began the back-end coding - the building of the algorithm, the internal processes of the WildHelp app. 

We're nearly finished with this part of the app's development, but there is plenty, plenty more to do, and only so much we can accomplish without funding... but, I have a plan.

Over the last couple of weeks, a handful of loyal supporters expressed interest in contributing to this project through Wildlife Emergency Services (WES). If we combine these charitable donations with Kickstarter backing, we can make it!

This coming week, we will re-launch a Kickstarter campaign with a lower goal amount - something we should be able to achieve.

This will give us enough to complete the coding for iOS and Android, and begin compiling the large database of wildlife professionals. 

It's not going to be easy, it will take us a bit longer and we'll have to rely greatly on volunteerism, but, we still believe we can deliver the WildHelp app by Spring, 2014.

This life-saving tool will be one of the greatest improvements to wildlife rescue and rehabilitation and will help save thousands and thousands of lives every year. Please support this project through Kickstarter or with a charitable donation, HERE or by mailing a check to Wildlife Emergency Services at POB 65, Moss Landing, CA 95039 - be sure to put WildHelp in the memo section.

Thank you! Rebecca 

Sep 19, 2013

Skunk caught in a fence

Today, we were referred a call from the Santa Cruz Animal Shelter about a skunk caught in a chain link fence in Watsonville. The RP said they had just heard about it but that their neighbors indicated it might have been there for a couple of days.

Duane and Rebecca responded immediately and were on scene in under 30 minutes. This rescue was sponsored by Bodhi Matus.

Check out the amazing video of its rescue:

The adult male skunk was transported to skunk expert and licensed wildlife rehabilitator, Monique, for a thorough examination before release back into the wild. 

Stay tuned for updates.

We are grateful for the sponsorship by Bodhi Matus of this and future wildlife rescues through our sponsorship program. Consider being a sponsor, HERE.

Sep 6, 2013

A big day for California's big cats

Today, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation that provides the Department of Fish and Wildlife with more options when dealing with mountain lion encounters. 

The new law requires consideration and use of non-lethal procedures when responding to mountain lion incidents where the lion has not been deemed an immediate threat to public health or safety.

The legislation further empowers the Department with the authority to use outside resources, such as qualified individuals or groups, to assist in implementing non-lethal tactics.

Also included in the new language is the mention of rehabilitation as a possible non-lethal option. Rehabilitation would include the care of injured adult lions and the raising of orphans for release into the wild. Never before has the Department been authorized to allow the rehabilitation of cougars in California.

Earlier this year, hoping to encourage rehabilitation of mountain lions in California, WES organized a group of experts to develop guidelines for the rescue and care of the big cats. Our recommendations will be based, largely, on the work being done with Florida panthers by the White Oak Conservation Center. See HEREWe hope to deliver our peer-reviewed document to the Department by the end of the year.

In the meantime, WES is in the process of pulling together mountain lion experts and specialized capture equipment in Los Angeles and the Central Coast area to be ready and available to assist the Department as needed. 

If you have specialized skills or equipment and an interest in being a part of either action team, please contact our director, Rebecca Dmytryk, at

Sep 2, 2013

Junior Rescuers

By Rebecca Dmytryk

Aidan (7 1/2) with Bentley.
Last night at about 8:00 pm, we received a call about an injured bird in Gilroy, CA. 

The reporting party, Anne, said she and her son had been walking their dog Bentley, when they found the bird.

On their walk, Aidan (7 1/2) noticed a cat. He approached the cat thinking it might be a stray (he's got a heart for saving animals), but when he got close, the cat dropped a bird from its mouth and ran off. 

The bird was clearly injured. Aidan called out for his mom, and told her they needed to find help.

"Mom, we have to help this bird. No one else will help him."

Anne helped Aidan gently pick up the broken bird, and they carried it home.

They set the bird on a towel inside a cardboard box. Aidan was distraught. He did not want the bird to die and he urged his mom to hurry and find someone who could help save its life.

Thankfully, Anne found WES' emergency number online, fairly quickly.

When we connected, Anne expressed a rare eagerness to, not only help the bird, but to nurture her son's compassion and benevolence. 

This was Aidan's 5th rescue. He once helped three neighborhood dogs get reunited with their owners. He also rescued an old, sick cat, and Aidan was the one who selected the family's shelter-rescues, two cats, Audrey and Echo, and their dog, Bentley.  

Anne's willingness to do whatever was necessary came as somewhat of a shock. 

In general, I'd say at least 80% of the people I speak with on a daily basis - people who call to report a wild animal in distress, are concerned enough to call, but not willing to help in any way. They want it "handled", but don't want to be more involved in the process - they don't have time...

During our conversation, Anne mentioned how Aidan had felt that, because it was a wild bird, maybe no one would care - no one would help.

That really hit me, hard. 

I told Anne to be sure to tell Aidan that there are people out there who do care about wild animals, in fact, there are special hospitals with special nurses and doctors who dedicate their lives to caring for injured and orphaned wildlife.

Unfortunately, so late in the day, there was no nowhere for them to take the bird. I instructed Anne to keep it overnight in the covered box, undisturbed, in a warm, dark, quiet spot. She and Aidan would transport it to the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley the next morning. 



We want to honor Aidan and other children interested in helping animals with a program just for them!

We are forming a Junior Animal Rescue program. 

Parents will help develop the curriculum and must accompany their child to meetings and on field trips. 

We have a couple of spots open for children 7-11. Email me directly if you are interested in being a part of this pilot program.


If you haven't seen this amazing video of a professional wildlife photographer's encounter with a leopard seal in Antarctica, watch it now. You'll be amazed.

More from the 2006 expedition, HERE.