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Wildlife All Around You

December 15, 2011

Animals share our urban environment

By Isabelle W., Madison S. & Peyton W.

You may not notice it, but there is wildlife all around us.  In Montclair, you can see raccoons, robins, turkeys, blue jays, rabbits, there is even a family of deer that lives on my road!  Near Orinda, you can see many turkeys everywhere. There could be a robin whizzing right by your head and you wouldn’t notice!  Raccoons, however, will eat your garbage so you’d better watch out! Now, if you see a wild animal, just leave it alone. Definitely don’t harm it.

We went to visit the Montclair Veterinary Hospital and there was a woman named Mary Condon there.  She told us the Montclair Vet sees many wild animals in the hospital.  They get birds, raccoons, possums, and squirrels.  In fact, just before we came in there was an injured hummingbird that they treated.  They do not treat big wildlife, like deer, unless they’re babies.

This Canada goose at Lake Merritt is just one of the many wild animals found in Oakland. Photo by: Haley

If the animals are not injured they send them back to their homes. If they are injured the doctor looks at them and treats them and then sends them to a place called Lindsay Wildlife Museum. This process is called “triage.”

Mary’s favorite animal is a hawk. They get injured hawks at the vet. The hawks are injured because they see prey on the ground and they dive for the prey but they cannot stop so they crash into the ground, or wires, or they get hit by a car.  Mary worked only with dogs and cats before working at the vet. She likes working at the vet because she thinks it’s fun working with animals.

There is another urban wildlife rescue center right here in Oakland called Yggdrasil!  It sounds like ig-dru-sil.  This word comes from mythology and means “World Tree.”  The world tree’s branches stretched across the whole universe, and it nourished the animals that lived in it and the animals nourished the tree too.  This is what the Yggdrasil urban wildlife rescue center does – it  heals sick, injured, or orphaned wildlife.

A habitat is a place where something can live.  Some wildlife live in cities and neighborhoods because there are few other places for them to live.  Wild animals don’t need humans to survive and aren’t pets.  Urban means living in a city, so an urban animal is an animal that lives in the city.  Another one of the missions of Yggdrasil is to educate people about urban wildlife, nature and how we can co-habitate (live together).

If you find an injured or orphaned animal, Yggdrasil wants you to put it in a box in a quiet and safe place away from pets, and put a heating pad (set to low) under the box.  Don’t try to handle the animal or feed it.  The center takes animals in need that live in our neighborhoods – raccoons, squirrels, possums, rabbits, deer.  They can’t take birds, though, because they don’t have the space (but Lindsay Wildlife in Walnut Creek will take them).  Yggdrasil is looking for a new home for the rescue center because they can not stay on Sherwood Drive much longer.

If you see an injured wild animal bring it to either the Montclair Vet or Yggdrasil.  Always be careful with wild animals, especially injured ones.

You can learn more about these organizations and donate to help them on their websites, YUWR.org and petandwildlifefund.org.

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