Coyote trapped in plastic tubing and bare bear make remarkable recovery at the Fund for Animals Wildlife Center
For the last few months, our Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in Ramona, California, has been home to two high-profile residents: a coyote found with plastic construction tubing wrapped around her neck, and a bear, Eve, who came to us severely underweight and completely bald. Today, I want to share with you the remarkable progress made by these animals – just two of many hundreds received by the center each year – as they have journeyed from sickness to health, aided every step of the way by our amazing staff and volunteers.
The coyote, observed in San Diego neighborhoods with the tubing around her neck, was trapped and brought to the center in May. The center’s medical staff went to work immediately to remove the plastic tubing and snare cable from her neck. The coyote was emaciated, and once the tube was off, her severe wounds became apparent, including a number of deep abrasions and cuts and swelling. Freed from the tubing and following extensive treatment, she spent hours sleeping soundly. She spent her next few days in the center’s state-of-the-art recovery room. Once her wounds had healed, she was transferred to a specially designed outdoor enclosure, where staff members took care to ensure that she recovered fully without the stress of having people around her – vitally important for an animal accustomed to life in the wild.
In early June, we determined she was ready for release, and on June 18, caretakers placed the coyote onto a truck and took her back to her home territory, near where she had been captured, and let her go free.
The coyote’s capture, treatment and recovery has been a “roller-coaster ride,” Matt Anderson, the director of FFAWC, told me. But it is a true success story, one which ended in a successful release, and just one of the many happy outcomes that our staff at the Fund for Animals Wildlife Center produce every day – a true testament to the collective expertise of our team.
Our center is a 13-acre facility that specializes in treating and rehabilitating wildlife. It has a fully equipped medical center and staff and volunteers trained to meet the special needs of ill, injured and orphaned wildlife year-round.
Each year, the center treats more than 800 animals, and since it was created in 1984, it has received 20,000 animals, most of them orphaned, injured or ill patients, rehabilitated and released back into their native habitats.
The center specializes in hawks, owls, eagles, skunks, coyotes, bobcats, bears and mountain lions, and it has special areas for the animals to recuperate, including coyote enclosures, and a 150-foot, free-flight enclosure that enables birds of prey—from Cooper’s hawks to Golden eagles—to exercise their atrophied muscles after recovering from illness or injury. Once the animals have fully recovered, they are released back into the wild.
The bear cub arrived at the center late last year after Samaritans found her foraging for food in northern California. Had the California Department of Fish and Wildlife not intervened and brought her to the center, she would have died from the cold.
Eve, as volunteers and her followers nicknamed her (she came to us on Christmas Eve), was the most severe case anyone at the center had ever seen: she was completely bald and was suffering from a serious mange. Her entire body was dry and cracked and covered in spots with crusty, dead and infected skin.
In the seven months since she arrived at the center, Eve has undergone intensive treatments including months of blood work, biopsies, skin treatments and medication. Her progress has been steady and extraordinary: she arrived weighing under 30 pounds but now is more than 100 pounds. Her mange is gone, although she still has a lingering skin infection for which she gets medicated baths, and her fur is growing back too.
We are hopeful now that she will make enough progress to be released into the wild one day. But meanwhile, Eve has made herself at home at the center, climbing trees and using the pool on hot days. As Matt said, “she doesn’t quite look like a completely healthy bear yet but we are pleased that she is certainly behaving more like one.”
We’re accustomed to tackling issues of broad scope in our public policy, corporate outreach, education, and public awareness initiatives. But in our direct care work, we get to experience the joy of wonderful outcomes for individual animals like these. Each one is its own little triumph, and together, they give us hope for a better world for all.