wildliferescue

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Monster enjoying her exercise time in the brand new Sloth Bootcamp enclosure! #slothlove #wildliferescue #costarica #dreamsreallydocometrue

Pigeon Fancier

The pigeon is a commonly disliked and largely underestimated bird. As a rehabilitator “it’s only a pigeon!” and “You’ll come all this way for a pigeon?” are regularly chimed down the phone as if people consider us wildlife rescue … apart from pigeons.

Pigeons actually make up a large proportion of what we rescue throughout the year due to a range of infections, road traffic accidents and lack of food to name but a few. Living in such close proximity to humans has been both a  haven and a hell for these birds, adapting to an urban lifestyle has provided a new niche of roosting places and food offerings, but also leaves birds vulnerable to human structures such as pigeon netting, vehicles and even persecution at the hand of shotgun pellets. With pigeons remaining so common in town centres, it is easy to take these birds for granted, but pigeons have a lot more going on inside those little heads then you may realise, here are some of my favourite pigeon facts …

  • Pigeons are the only non mammal which have been found to pass the ‘mirror test’ and recognise their own reflection in a mirror
  • A team of navy researchers were able to train pigeons to recognise red and yellow lifejackets floating in the sea in an aim to save more lives. Pigeons not only had a better success rate than humans, but were also faster!
  • Pigeons bob their heads for better depth perception, as the pigeon steps forward it leaves it’s head behind giving itself time to take in the image before the next step pulls it’s head forward and so on
  • Some Sikhs believe that if they feed pigeons then they will never go hungry in their next life
  • A 10 year study by Oxford University found that pigeons use landmarks and roads to navigate their way back home after travelling long distances, they were even found to turn at motorway junctions
  • Pigeons show great plumage diversity for a feral animal, although there are several theories, scientists are still not clear why that is

… see they can do more than hoover up McDonalds in your local town centre, they just really like McDonalds that’s all.

Image courtesy of ‘The Feral Pigeon Project’ (2013)

Nothing screams happiness like a sloth stretching in the breeze! Did you know that sloths will die from stress? When rehabilitating them it’s important that you put them in the sunshine and breeze every day! #slothlove #wildliferescue #costarica

STOATally Mad!

On the 11th of May I got a message about a new delivery to our casualty care centre, a very special bundle of fur! Excited by the news I was then greeted by this image …

TOO.MUCH.CUTENESS!!!

This little bundle of fur, eyes closed and curled in to a sleepy ball was in fact a tiny stoat. Caught by a cat and brought in to an unsuspecting lady’s house, he had now ended up on my doorstep as an unexpected but totally adored foster child.

Not at all bothered by his ordeal he immediately took to being fed by syringe, lapping to his heart’s content. Unusually for most hand reared mammals, stoats are required to begin eating meat before their eyes even open. Most rodents and mammals will open their eyes for the first time at around 10 days to 2 weeks but stoats eyes don’t open until they are around a month old, and they are then usually weaned by 5 weeks - so they need that head start.Right on cue at around 4 weeks old, the little stoat opened his beautiful big eyes … and went crazy. Dashing around his cage like a hyperactive toddler, he was due to be paired with another baby stoat at a different rescue centre, unfortunately their stoat turned out to be a weasel and all hopes of bromance were crushed, this was a problem. A young stoat is EXTREMELY easy to tame, particularly if they are reared on their own. Following advice from a well-established wildlife rescue centre, it was time to cut the apron strings and put stoat in to a pen, on his own, with absolutely zero human contact, zilch, sob sob. Having gathered all the branches and hidey holes a stoat would love to create stoat paradise in the pen, tiny little stoat was dropped in to the big, scary pen to toughen up and remember he’s a stoat … with the little addition of a web cam so that we can keep track of his progress.

The first few days were unbearable!!!! After continuous hand feeding as a youngster, to be completely cut off from any contact felt unnatural, but it had to be done. As the weeks went by, little stoat was squeaking less and exploring more, and beginning to show not only fear of humans when his food was quickly slid in, but also showing stoat behaviour in practising his hypnotic dance. Adult stoats perform a mesmerising ‘dance’ to distract the prey, giving them the opportunity to pounce on their victim. Every time little stoat was given a chick or a mouse he would go MAD jumping around, shooting from side to side and rolling all over the place, just as the adults would do, magic! Our little stoat is growing up fast, and release day is fast approaching!

Being bat mama! Orphaned flying foxes have an instinctual need to be cuddled, which means whenever you go into an enclosure you leave covered in bats that have latched onto you so they can cuddle up to you to feel safe and secure. It’s incredibly sweet, when they latch on like this I carry on doing my jobs and let them snuggle up to me for comfort, I put them back once they’ve calmed down enough. So cute! #bat #flyingfox #cute #orphanbat #babybat #wildliferescue

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Good morning! Somebody’s looking bright and alert :-) #slothlove #wildliferescue #costarica

Visiting my sister in Perth, Australia for a few weeks and still can’t escape a bit of wildlife rescue! Found this little chap beached on the sand and popped him back where he belongs in to the river. You can take the rehabber away from the rescue centre …