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Hearing the Call of the Wildlife

Taking in wounded or sick wild animals – and rehabilitating them – is a labor of love for the dedicated volunteers in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties. “Volunteers give it their heart and soul,” said Kathy St. John of Boulder Creek, a volunteer with Native Animal Rescue of Santa Cruz County. Handling jobs like feeding baby mammals, which must …

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I’d Walk 10 Miles for a Skunk

Since 1999, I’ve rehabilitated native wild mammals including hundreds of skunks. When I received a call about a rescued baby skunk in early August of this year, I thought this was just a typical call. Although California is home to both the Striped Skunk and the Spotted Skunk, I had only rehabbed the striped species. …

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From Necessity to Love: A Raccoon Story

In the late spring of 2009, a raccoon had her litter under a riser in our garage. This wasn’t the first time, and it’s always cool to hear the babes’ little noises and to know that life is renewing right under our noses. This time though, when the kits were about five weeks old, their …

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For the Love of Fawns

Every day a herd of bucks passes through my property in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Because it’s important for rehabbed fawns to be released where wild deer visit regularly, NAR asked me to take on fawn rehabilitation. Once I learned more about fawns, I looked forward to caring for these vulnerable little creatures. Building the …

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Pelicans Make a Comeback

SANTA CRUZ — The bird lady of 17th Avenue ducks under Tibetan prayer flags and into a makeshift lab that was partly built, she says, by a Caltrans worker sentenced to community service for illegally washing away seven swallow nests. Inside are dozens of birds being nursed back to health by 84-year-old Molly Richardson, with …

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The Elusive Mountain Lion

Mountain lions (Felis concolor) are the largest native North American cat except for the slightly larger Jaguar. The mountain lion is called by more names than any other mammal – cougar, puma panther, catamount or simply – lion. Adult mountain lions are more than seven feet long with a 32 inch tail. Their color is …

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Living in Harmony with Bats

Bats are mammals, just like humans, which mean that all bats are warm-blooded, have fur, bear live young, and feed their babies milk. There are over 1,100 different species of bats in the world making up almost a quarter of all mammal species. They live on every continent except Antarctica. All bats can see, but …

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Living with California Coyotes

The coyote is a member of the dog family and is native to California. They are one of the three different types of wild candids (dogs) found in North America. The coyote resembles a small German shepherd dog with the exception of the long snout and bushy, black tipped tail. Its high pitched, yodel-like yapping …

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Living Peacefully with Raccoons

Native Animal Rescue (NAR), Santa Cruz County’s only licensed wildlife intake rehabilitation facility, receives many calls from the public with questions, concerns and situations regarding raccoons. Many mother raccoons are trapped, relocated or killed each year by people who consider them to be a nuisance. Baby raccoons or “kits” are then needlessly orphaned from their …

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Understanding Opossums

Spring and summer are upon us and this is the time Opossums breeding season has begun. The Opossum is North America’s only marsupial (female has a pouch) mammal. The female carries and nurses her young until they are about 2 to 3 months old, then they are carried on her back another 1 to 2 …

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