On Monday, December 13, Pinau Merlin presented a rather comprehensive review of a Tucson treasure, the Tucson Wildlife Center.

This is an organization with an animal hospital with x-ray facilities, and two veterinarians and other staff always on call to rescue, perform emergency medical care, and rehabilitate sick, injured, or orphaned wildlife. These animals are returned to the wild whenever possible, and cared for when they cannot be released.

The Tucson Wildlife Center takes in or helps about 5,000 wild animals per year. A large percent of the animals have been hit by cars; some are caught in traps or poisoned when these things are meant for other pest animals; some are orphaned; some are baby birds that have fallen out of their nests; some have been injured by other animals; some have lost their habitat because of fire.

The variety of animals rescued is wide and includes hawks, bats, eagles, foxes, javelinas, screech owls, barn owls, hummingbirds, bobcats, black vultures, rabbits, Gila monsters, pelicans (usually young ones blown off course by high winds) and others not specifically mentioned.

Pinau explained some of the procedures necessary to treat and rehabilitate some of the animals, such as cleaning the soot out of a screech owl so that it could fly again, making artificial nests with cardboard or plastic containers to put baby birds back in the safety of a tree so that the parents could feed it, enticing a herd of javelinas with some extra food so that they would find and adopt a baby javelina, using ice packs on burns on a deer’s head to decrease the pain, and treating the burns on a fox’s feet so that it could walk and run again. There was an explanation of how to keep very young animals from bonding to humans by not talking to them, and by feeding them while in costumes that looked like rows of small trees.

Reach out to Howard Cohen, Co-President via email at hdjgm@sbcglobal.net. For information about the Saddlebrooke Nature Club go online to saddlebrookenatureclub.org.

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