Having worked under other licensed rehabilitation facilities since 2000, our director, Sara Penhallegon, has built a reputation of knowledgeable care and housing of injured wild animals through their eventual release. She became a licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator in Feb 2012. In that same month Center Valley Animal Rescue (CVAR) became a permitted Wildlife Rehabilitation facility.
CVAR focuses on rehabilitation of wild mammals. These animals are brought to us for many reasons: some are hit by cars, some are attacked by cats and dogs and others are orphaned babies. No matter what the reason for their arrival the goal is always the same: get them healthy, keep them wild and release then back to the wild.
CVAR’s Wildlife Rehabilitaion facility is a separate area well away from the domestic animals, the public and volunteers. This seclusion is imperative as it keeps these animals wild until they are ready for release. It also keeps our domestic animals safe. Because of these strict protocols we do not do tours of this area.
Education about wildlife is one of our goals. We are here to teach good ways to co-exist with our wild neighbors. We put out information each spring and summer to help people determine when an animal really needs to be rescued and when it should be left alone.
What to do if you find a wild animal needing help:
First assess the situation:
- Does this animal really need help? Many times the answer is no.
- Is it safe for you to contain the animal?
- Will the animal’s injuries be worse if you try to contain it?
Please call us or your local wildlife rehabilitation facility for advice before proceeding.
Stress is the number one cause of death of wild animals admitted to rehabilitators. Stress can come from sights, sounds, smells or direct stress such as handling. Many people think an animal is stressed only when it is visibly upset or “freaking out”. With many wild animals stress is shown in the opposite way, calm and quiet, so as not to attract attention of predators (like humans). Keep these things in mind before attempting to catch or transport an animal.
Once you have determined that the animal is in need of rescue, wear gloves and use a towel or blanket to cover the animal. Then place the animal in a paper grocery sack (small bird), cardboard box (birds, small mammals) or pet carrier covered with a towel or blanket (larger birds or mammals). Make sure there is plenty of ventilation in your transport option and a towel or blanket is good in the bottom of the container also so they have traction. Keep the animal/bird warm, dry and in the dark until you can get it to your local rehabilitator which should be done immediately. Do not feed the animal or try to force water down it. This added stress and an improper diet can kill the animal you are trying to help. When transporting keep car radios off, keep talking to a minimum and, if talking is necessary, use quiet voices.
Always keep your safety in mind as well as the safety of the animal you are wanting to help and never allow children to handle or hold wildlife.
Living with Wildlife and Common Problems
As we encroach more and more in to wildlife habitat in attempts to survive and thrive, wildlife and humans have more and more conflicts. Here is some advice to help prevent and solve common wildlife conflicts in a humane way. Remember animals are attracted or driven away by smells, sounds and sights.
Animals in attics and crawlspaces
First locate all potential points of entry. Then place a portable radio (loud human noises), bright lights or flashing lights or mothballs in the area you want them out of. These things will drive them out. Once you are sure the animal is gone, seal up all potential points of entry.
The Spring and Summer time is baby season so make sure not to trap babies in the area you are closing off. It is best to evict animals in the fall or winter and then keep all potential points of entry sealed off.
Wild animals eating pet food or raiding garbage/compost
First eliminate access to food or garbage. Feed pets indoors or supervise feeding outside and pick up leftovers. Close pet doors at night so wildlife can’t come in. Keep extra food or garbage in a secure container and if possible keep the containers in a garage or shed. Enclose your compost bin or buy a wildlife proof bin.
Birds flying into windows or attacking windows
Reducing reflections or covering windows are good ways to stop birds from hitting windows. This can be done by: using decals or tinting windows, and hanging windsocks, chimes, mobiles, etc. in the front of windows to obstruct the bird’s views of the reflections. Birds hit windows when they see the skies reflection and think it is an open flying space or they may attack windows thinking they are attacking another bird that is encroaching on their space.
Never use poisons! You are not just poisoning the animal you want to poison; the animals that have been poisoned and die are then eaten by other animals wild and domestic and those animals too may die.
Watching for animals on the road
It may seem simple but just driving sober and carefully can help wildlife as 13% of wild animals brought to CVAR in 2012-2013 were hit by cars. Take care on dark country roads at night and look ahead and to each shoulder as you drive. Obviously some of these accidents are unavoidable but being aware of your surroundings can help.
The threat of domestic cats
Domestic cats are a huge threat to native wildlife. In 2012-2013 18% of wild animals brought to CVAR were attacked by cats. Just think of all the wild animals caught by cats that never make it to us for help. There are also many wild animals that would like to prey upon your cats if given the opportunity. It is not realistic to expect a wild animal that would normally eat small birds and mammals to know the difference between your cat or other pet and their normal meal. So please, for the safety of your cat and our wildlife, keep your cats indoors, on a leash or in an enclosed cat yard.
Dogs can be a threat too
Dogs are more prone to go after mid to large sized mammals whereas cats normally go after smaller mammals and birds. 4% of the wild animal brought to CVAR for rehab in 2012-2013 were due to dogs. We also see domestic cats seriously injured or killed by dogs too. Keeping your dog on a leash or in an enclosed yard can help prevent these injuries to both your dog and the other animals. Training your dog at an early age not to go after other animals is ideal.