Squirrel eating nuts in a large hole in a tree

— by Dawn Harrison — One heartwarming part of wildlife rehabilitation is seeing the result of all the efforts put forth. For many released animals, the results are not easily tracked. Raccoons, for instance, don’t come by and say hi after being released and are more likely to show their appreciation by eating the supplemental food left for them and leaving little raccoon prints in the snow. But in the case of our most recent squirrel release, we are able to check in with the releaser and hear wonderful stories of how she is doing. The most recent update was to tell us that she had found a spot in a tree that suited her well and had not been back to the interim release habitat for...

Wolf eating carcass

— by Dawn Harrison — We are excited to have Animal Enrichment Specialist Steve Hill on site working with all of our sanctuary residents, but we’re not as excited as the animals. Steve traveled here from England and immediately began immersing himself in his work. He spouted ideas within minutes and started early with a trip to the local thrift shop and junk yard. By the second day, we had swinging ramps and converted cooler hidey holes for the foxes, tire toys made for the bears, and ground laid for more projects to come. Sholeh thanking Steve for his new toys | Dawn Harrison The simplicity of some projects is amazing and yet so effective. Teton Totem, the grizzly...

Raccoons emerging from a crate

— by Dawn Harrison — The weather was perfect and the girls were ready, so we knew it was the right day for releasing our rehabilitation raccoons. We found the ideal spot with a small stream and ample natural food in a location where we can provide supplementation if they need it to thrive through their first winter. The girls, dubbed Big and Medium, were loaded into a crate for the short trip to their new home. Upon arriving, Big and Medium were very inquisitive yet reluctant. After all, they didn’t know exactly what was going on. They peeked out of the kennel, took a few steps out, and then went back in. When we took the top off, they finally got a good look at the welcoming meadow...

Two orphaned and hairless baby squirrels

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — Tiny arms intertwined with one another, the two orphaned baby squirrels lay sleeping. I gently disentangled the little girl for a feeding. So tiny they fit into one half of my hand, eyes tightly closed shut, delicate pink skin still unprotected by fur. The little boy stirred and started to protest, looking for his nest mate. They came from different mothers, different trees, in different neighborhoods, but probably blown out of their nests by the same ill wind that gusted fiercely a couple of weeks ago. Motherless, they found comfort in one another. When we got the little girl, she still had her umbilical cord attached. It was touch and go. At first she...

Mango

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — A timid knock sounded on my hotel door the night before I was to return home from a family wedding. I opened it and there stood Cece, a sweet little eleven-year-old with both hands outstretched, holding a large mango. “Here,” she said shyly. “This is for Teton Totem.” It was a beautiful mango. A large, round, beautifully-shaped, unblemished mango, perfectly ripe. I had spoken to her earlier in the day about our animals---our bears in particular---and I said how Teton was a mango kind of bear. She was enchanted and asked a lot of questions. At lunch, there was an island in the center of the kitchen piled with fresh fruit. I watched, fascinated, as she...

Porcupine napping on a log

— by Dawn Harrison — Moving days are stressful enough, but imagine if you were moved and no one told you what was happening. That would quickly turn a stressful day into a scary day. For Piney the Porcupine, moving day was a little scary. He had to wait in an unknown area with the sounds of construction going on around him. Luckily, it was a short-lived experience and he wasn’t actually getting relocated---he was getting an upgrade. Even then, I wanted to make sure he knew what was going on, so I did something that usually works for calming down kids and dogs: I sat and told him a story: Once upon a time, there was a handsome porcupine named Piney. One morning, Piney woke up to find...

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