Sep 30, 2014

Buck entangled in electric net fencing

Male mule deer entangled in portable electric net fencing meant for livestock.

This morning, WES received a call about a deer entangled in electric fencing in Bonny Doon, California. The buck had been stuck all night but was still bright and alert and fighting to get free, according to the reporting party.

We immediately contacted the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to alert them of the emergency.

Deer are considered Big Game. In California, rescue organizations like ours must notify CDFW and receive authorization before responding to emergencies involving big game species.

Wildlife Officer Chris Foster was on scene quickly. WES' lead responders, Rebecca Dmytryk and Duane Titus, arrived shortly thereafter.

Together, the team assessed the situation and developed a plan to untangle the buck from the netting material.

This particular rescue presented a couple of unique challenges. 

Deer are extremely dangerous to work with. They are flighty - they panic and will do anything and everything to get away, even if it kills them.

Once restrained, rescuers would have to worry about the animal developing "white muscle disease", also known as capture or exertional myopathy. Explained in detail, HERE.

The deer was an adult male and presumably "in rut". 

The rutting period is the mating season of ruminants, like deer, where breeding males are in a state of heightened aggression, with one thing on their mind - finding receptive females. They are easily agitated and completely unpredictable.

After one last review, the team, led by Officer Foster, was ready to execute their plan.

They approached using wooden herding boards to protect themselves from the terrified deer, flailing and kicking and striking. This allowed them to get close enough for Officer Foster to grab hold of the antlers and restrain the front end, while Duane applied pressure on the backside. 

With the animal held down, Rebecca began cutting away at the tangled mass of plastic and wire webbing. It took nearly 4 minutes to clear the antlers.

With protective boards to shield them from the buck should it charge, Duane and Officer Foster released their hold.

Immediately, the buck spun right around for a quick charge. The herding boards fended off his aggression until he collected his wits and headed off into the woods.

A huge THANK YOU!!! to Wildlife Officer Chris Foster for his prompt and expert response!

Check out the video below.

The net fencing was being used to keep grazing goats contained to a specific area. 

Unfortunately, this relatively new type of fencing seems to be gaining in popularity as it's lightweight, portable, and cost, but, like any netting material, it poses a serious risk to wildlife especially when used in or near wild habitat.

This publication, Fencing with Wildlife in Mind, offers suggestions of safer fences.

Sep 26, 2014

Goose Wrangler captures another injured bird

This afternoon, Andrew Bear, one of WES' volunteer first responders, received word of about another goose tangled in fishing line at Vasona Park.

Not long after receiving the call, Andrew had it in his hands. Way to go!!!

The goose was transported to Wildlife Center for Silicon Valley for treatment.


Sep 22, 2014

World Rhino Day

Check out the events going on around the globe, HERE.

Let's not forget "Rhino Man", Michael Werikhe. He wasn't a biologist or researcher - he was an ordinary citizen who knew he had to do something - anything, to help save the rhino, so he started walking. In his life he would walk thousands of miles across four continents.

In August, 199, Michael was killed in a mugging when leaving his home for work.

Remember the power of one.

Sep 15, 2014

Hawk rescued from a storm drain

This afternoon, WES was forwarded a call from the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter about a small hawk that had dropped into a storm drain on Highway 1 near River Street in Santa Cruz, CA.

The bird must have been clipped by a car, as the reporting party saw it struggling on the road before it fell into the opening of the drain.

Santa Cruz Police assisted with traffic control as Duane Titus rescued the small accipiter. Check out the video:

The sharp-shinned was delivered to Native Animal Rescue for care.


Sep 14, 2014

Skunk rescued from leg-hold trap

This morning, WES received a report of a skunk stuck in a trap off Rodeo Gulch in Soquel, CA. Responders found the young male skunk caught in an illegal leg-hold trap. 

This particular type of body-gripping trap was outlawed in California in 1998. The only time this sort of trap can be used is for public health and safety.

The skunk was only a few feet from the road. It appeared as though it had been traveling, dragging the trap, when it got tangled among fallen branches.

Wildlife Officers with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife also responded and assisted in the rescue and are investigating the violations.

WES transported the animal to skunk expert, Monique, with Santa Cruz's Native Animal Rescue. A thorough examination revealed the skunk had a small, bullet-like wound on its back. Radiographs will be taken to confirm if the animal was shot.

A huge THANK YOU! to Keith for calling and reporting this emergency, and many thanks to our local Wildlife Officers for assisting!

Sep 8, 2014

Bobcat rescue at UCSC

This evening, WES was called on by UC Santa Cruz Campus Police to help with an injured bobcat that had apparently been struck by a vehicle. It had made its way off the road and into a vacant lot where officers kept watch until rescuers arrived.

The bobcat was alert and defensive - a good sign, but it had a significant injury to its left rear leg and its right eye was cloudy.

WES responders used an open-ended net to capture and contain the cat. This method eliminates direct contact with the animal.

Because there are no veterinarians in the Santa Cruz area to provide emergency care, the animal was transfer to WES' wildlife veterinarian in Los Gatos and on to the Wildlife Center for Silicon Valley.

Sadly, the cat did not make it through the night. A necropsy will be performed and its liver sent for testing for possible exposure to rodenticides.

If you would like to cover the cost of testing for rodenticide exposure, click HERE.

Stay tuned!

Sep 6, 2014

A few well-deserved Shout-Outs!

Every year we receive hundreds of calls about wild animals in danger or distress. We want to share a few of the many stories of people helping animals as we give a few Shout-Outs to these local heroes.

Our first Shout-Out goes to PG&E for the stellar job they did in preparing for emergency repair of damaged power lines near an active osprey nest in Harkin's Slough.

They did an incredible job of having plenty of resources at-the-ready for a quick rescue of the osprey chick, should it have been necessary. Awesome! 

Another Shout-Out to a young woman named Lorie, who noticed a bird trapped behind netting at one of the Caltrain stations in Santa Clara County. She first reported the bird to authorities early in the evening but it took hours and many, many phone calls to get help. 

Finally, her persistence paid off when the bird was freed by Caltrain workers later that night. Never give up!

Another Shout-Out to Marie, in Los Angeles, who saved a healthy fledgling from the middle of the street. 

Following our instructions, she tended to it overnight and returned it to its family the next day for a successful reunion. Well done!

A warm Shout-Out to Patricia Donald, founder and coordinator of the Shorebird Park Nature Center in Berkeley, CA.

Every year, Patty rescues various creatures from harm. This year, she reunited a young white-tailed kite with its family - high in a tree. 

City of Berkeley Forestry supplied the bucket truck! A Shout-Out to them for assisting.

About a month later, Patty helped a couple of young barn owls back into their nest box. 

Thank you Patty for all you do for wildlife in Berkeley and beyond!

Another Shout-Out to the Morris family in Soquel and biologists with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife who expended great time and effort to help a doe with a PVC ring stuck on its foot.

A huge Shout-Out to Ron and LaVera in Montana, who helped a skunk out of a sticky situation. 

They came across this fellow wandering a dirt road...

Using polar fleece straps that LaVera uses in sewing, which just happened to be in the car, Ron ventured close enough to tie a length of them onto the cup and give a good yank.

It worked, and he didn't get sprayed!  Way to go!!!

A Shout-Out to The Lady at Beach who spent time tossing live beached sand dollars back into the shallows, reminiscent of Loren Eiseley's The Star Thrower - a must read.

How about a Shout-Out to WES' Duane and Rebecca, for taking time to untangle this creepy beach creature from debris. 

No limbs or fingers damaged during the ordeal!

A Shout-Out to Carrie, in Scotts Valley, for going out of her way to help newly hatched California quail chicks that had fallen down a storm drain. 

To Tamara - a Shout-Out for going to great lengths to find help for a bat ray, of all things!

Tamara observed the ray in a shallow lagoon-like area off Corte Madera Creek, in Kentfield, CA. 

The ray must have swum through a pipe and gotten trapped. At low tide, the area turned into a mud flat, with only a few puddles deep enough for the ray to survive.

Once Tamara contacted WES, we went to work to try and find help for the wayward ray and, lo and behold, we found someone who rescues sharks and rays - The Pelagic Shark Foundation!!! 

A grateful Shout-Out to Sean Van Sommeran with PSRF who responded from Santa Cruz!

To Romain and his wife who took a great deal of time and effort to report a severely injured American white pelican in Sunnyvale. 

They went out of their way to document the bird's location for rescuers. Thank you, Romain!

A hearty Shout-Out to Ingrid, in Seattle, who has gone to great efforts over the last couple of weeks to help rescue a young gull snared with a fishing bobber and weights.

Ingrid reached out to WES for advice. 

The gull was hatched on a rooftop adjacent to her apartment complex. With roof access impossible, Ingrid would have to lure the gull to a neighboring deck. 

We walked her through various capture strategies, and instructed her on how to build a drop trap - she did an amazing job!!!


Woo! A mega Shout-Out to Cecilia, who captured a rattlesnake and relocated it off her property. 

Apparently, she does this quite often. Tarantulas, too! What a kind and brave soul. 

Thank you Cecilia! May your compassion for living beings inspire others.

A huge Shout-Out to Jill, in Long Beach, CA for her ongoing efforts to rescue an injured Great Blue heron at El Dorado Park. 

Jill has spent weeks gaining the bird's trust, greeting it early each morning with bits of fresh fish. 

WES has been guiding rescue efforts. We hope for a capture this week. Good luck Jill!!!

To all the kind-hearted people who take the time to help animals in need,
you not only make a difference in that animal's life, but your act of compassion 
makes a difference in our world, inspiring kindness in others. Thank you! 


Sep 3, 2014

Bobcat kitten loses mother

Adolescent bobcat nuzzles its dying mother. Photo by Brett Hall all rights reserved.

Yesterday, we received a call about an ailing bobcat with a cub beside it. She was found near the UC Santa Cruz campus.

WES's wildlife capture expert Duane Titus responded immediately. Upon arrival, he found the adult bobcat lying under a bush, but her cub had wandered off. 

Using a catch pole, Duane pulled the nearly lifeless cat from the shrubbery and into a carrier. She barely struggled. 

Because there are no veterinarians or wildlife hospitals in Santa Cruz County willing to treat injured or ill adult predator species, the cat was rushed to the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley, in San Jose - about an hour's drive.

Exhibiting classic signs of rodenticide poisoning, the cat was immediately treated for dehydration and exposure to an anticoagulant agent. 

Unfortunately, despite the heroic efforts of medical staff, the mother cat did not survive the night. Her body will be sent to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Investigations Lab to determine the exact cause of her death.

As for her cub, WES capture team returned to the area today to look for the kitten. While it was reportedly observed by pedestrians, the capture team failed to locate the kitten. Search efforts will continue.

UPDATE: 9-11-2014

Duane and Rebecca spent the good part of Tuesday (the couple's anniversary) looking for the kitten at the UCSC Arboretum, near where it was seen last. After a couple of hours walking the premises, they located the baby bobcat close to the park entrance. 

Students and staff assisted in the capture - the cat was netted, momentarily, but escaped and ran into the brush.

The kitten appeared younger than first estimated - closer to 5 months old. Bobcat kittens stay with their mother for about one year. 

We believe this juvenile bobcat's chance for survival would be better if it were captured and raised in a controlled environment until it's old enough to be on its own. It would then be returned to the area.  

While the arboretum offers a safe environment with plentiful prey, the kitten has been seen close to a heavily traveled road. 

Possible sibling found dead on the High Street August 28th.

If this bobcat is the same one captured on trail cameras, it may have had a sibling, which was killed by a car on August 28th.

After their failed attempt, the team returned again on Wednesday. They set 3 humane traps and spent 8 hours searching the grounds. The cat was sighted by visitors, but word never reached the team.

Later that afternoon, the kitten was located - again, near the entrance. It was quick to run for cover and was lost.

UPDATE: Lab results came back positive - the mother bobcat died from exposure to anticoagulant rodenticides.