Feb 16, 2019

Still on the trail

By Rebecca Dmytryk

Photo Credit Dianne Kimbler

WES is still in pursuit of two very sick animals. A male bobcat in Aromas, suffering from a severe case of mange likely attributed to exposure to rodenticides - essentially, it consumed a rat or mouse, gopher or ground squirrel that had eaten poison placed by a human. We are also tracking a female coyote in Gilroy, also suffering from severe mange. Her condition cannot be as definitively linked to poisons as the bobcat, but we are very confident tests would conclude exposure to rodenticides as they did with the poor coyote from Danville (pictured below).  

These animals are suffering, tremendously. 

As their health began to decline, they moved into urban areas looking for easier meals. Unfortunately, due to the continued rampant use of rodenticides, we can only imagine their "easy meals" would be slow, dying, poisoned rodents. 

WES has been tracking the Gilroy coyote for months, trying to pin down a pattern of travel in order to capture her. But, she is extremely smart and elusive.

We are grateful to all who have reported sightings in a timely matter to our pager 831-498-9453.

Currently, she has been frequenting a remote location where we could, potentially, treat her in the field, making certain she, and only she, receives the dose of medication for the mange. This requires authorization from the local state (California Department of Fish and Wildlife) biologist, whom we have contacted, requesting approval. 

The bobcat in Aromas is a "research cat", similar to the sick one we captured on January 22nd, HERE. This one is referred to as B28M. 

He was captured and collared in early June (2018) as part of an environmental study. He was in good health then, according to the research biologists. 

Sometime in the last 6 months or so, in his travels through the hills around Aromas and the Santa Cruz Mountains, B28M was exposed to something that compromised his immune system - rodenticides top the list of possible causes.

Our pursuit of B28M began on February 10, when we received a report of a sick bobcat that had just killed a chicken. Our attempts to capture him that day failed.

The next day, we found him in a meadow, but, again, we were unsuccessful.

With the help of the researchers who gave us the collar's frequency, we have an opportunity to try and track the cat using handheld radios, but it's been a real challenge. The collar's battery is extremely low - close to being dead and it's programmed to work only between the hours of 11 and 3 every day. That, and the cold rainy weather has likely forced the cat to seek shelter - but we have been searching. 

These animals need our help... they need your help...

Whether we are successful at capturing these two poor beings or not, you can prevent other wild predators from getting sick and dying, by committing to not use poisons that contain anticoagulants. Where you can, try and get others on board.

Join us in calling for a ban of rodenticides containing anticoagulants in the State of California. 

If you would like to help fund this particular campaign, please donate HERE or send a check to WES at P.O. Box 65 Moss Landing CA 95039 and write rodenticides in the memo section.

Thank you!!!

Feb 11, 2019

Owls in Schools

Barn owls are nocturnal raptors that prey mostly on small rodents - rats, mice, voles and gophers, moles, and, occasionally, small rabbits. 

A family of barn owls can consume more than 4,000 rodents in one season. That’s why they are used to control rodents on residential properties, farms and ranches, vineyards and agricultural fields - and school campuses.

Because barn owls maintain a home territory and do not migrate, an owl family that takes up residency on a property is likely to stay, making an owl nest box a good investment for natural and long-term rodent control.

In addition to controlling rodents on campus, resident barn owls can provide unique learning opportunities in various studies, like science, art, writing, even woodworking (designing and building nest boxes)

Adding a camera inside the nest box adds a whole new dimension to the learning experience. The live-streaming capabilities allows viewing of the owl family day and night.

Streaming can be kept on a private network or shared publicly on YouTube. 

When possible, students will get a chance to be involved in banding of the baby owls that are born on campus. 

WES is currently raising funds to install barn owl nest boxes with cameras at three local schools in the Monterey Bay Area - Rancho Cielo, Pajaro Valley High School, and Aromas School. 

We are holding a fundraising event at the Haute Enchilada Cafe February 21st to help raise the funds to cover purchase of the cameras. See the invitation, HERE.

Tickets are $20.00. There will be a presentation on barn owls and how to build a proper nest box, wonderful original pieces of barn owl-themed artwork to bid on, complimentary chips, salsa and guacamole and a no-host bar. 

One of the beautiful pieces donated for the auction.

If you are unable to attend but still wish to contribute to the Owls in Schools program, you can donate through GoFundMe, HERE, or PayPal, HERE.

Thank you for supporting this worthy endeavor!

Please contact us directly if you'd like to sponsor a school box.