Wildlife Rehabilitation: Saving the Wild Among Us

By Wilma Jozwiak

Shake­speare sat high above the book­shelves at the Barnes and Noble in Sarato­ga Springs, indif­fer­ent to the crowds as he turned his head around, and around, and around … because, you see, Shake­speare is a barred owl. 

As you can imag­ine, Shake­speare was draw­ing a lot of atten­tion as wildlife reha­bil­i­ta­tor Lin­da Brown talked about her avo­ca­tion. Lin­da has been a reha­bil­i­ta­tor for about sev­en years, start­ing when she had unex­pect­ed leisure between jobs. (Her first clients were squir­rels.) Since then, she has earned state and fed­er­al licens­es to reha­bil­i­tate most mam­mals and birds. Over the years Lin­da and her hus­band Eric have helped save the lives of many birds includ­ing owls (for which she has a par­tic­u­lar affec­tion), great blue herons, Amer­i­can eagles, and Cana­da geese. 

Lin­da said that reha­bil­i­ta­tors tend to spe­cial­ize. Among the mam­mals, Lin­da par­tic­u­lar­ly enjoys the skunks – they have quite the per­son­al­i­ty, she says. There are ani­mals best left to the oth­ers’ care. For instance, she leaves the bats to some­one else!

While nur­tur­ing an ani­mal back to health can be reward­ing, it is not with­out its heartaches. Some ani­mals are quite sus­cep­ti­ble to death from the stress of the res­cue alone. For exam­ple, only a few reha­bil­i­ta­tors seem to be able to keep baby rab­bits alive. Although fawns can usu­al­ly be reha­bil­i­tat­ed, adult deer almost always suc­cumb. Some­times ani­mals, like Shake­speare, are too impact­ed by trau­ma to return to the wild, yet they can lead use­ful lives as teach­ing exhibits.

Lin­da and Eric will be pro­vid­ing a work­shop about wildlife reha­bil­i­ta­tion at Lan­dis this spring to share the rig­ors of reha­bil­i­ta­tion and intro­duce Shake­speare and per­haps oth­er res­cued crea­tures. They will increase our aware­ness of how our activ­i­ties affect wildlife. A great many ani­mals need reha­bil­i­ta­tion as a direct result of human behav­ior. Rou­tine­ly ani­mals are treat­ed for heads stuck in cans and jars, which are irre­sistible to a hun­gry ani­mal. Lin­da described res­cu­ing a great horned owl trapped by fish­ing line and hang­ing upside down from a tree branch over a creek. While we are offer­ing the work­shop free of charge; we strong­ly encour­age par­tic­i­pants to make a dona­tion to North Coun­try Wild Care, the asso­ci­a­tion of reha­bil­i­ta­tors to which Lin­da and Eric belong. For more infor­ma­tion, or to reg­is­ter, call us at (518) 8756935 or email info@​landisarboretum.​org. To learn more about North Coun­try Wild Care, vis­it their web­site at www​.north​coun​try​wild​care​.org. We hope to see you at the workshop!

Pic­tured below are some of the ani­mals Lin­da and Eric have reha­bil­i­tat­ed, all cap­tured by Eric’s lens.

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Winter 2015

Volume 33 , Number 1

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