Injured animals, chimps released from labs
—Richard “Bugman” Fagerlund
Occasionally I get calls to pick up baby birds or injured birds on the UNM campus. I don't mind picking them up, but there are people you can call who are far more qualified than I when it comes to baby animals. I do all right with baby centipedes, scorpions, and other cute little bugs, but I am out of my league with birds and mammals, at least in caring for them properly.
The best source of information on anything pertaining to animals in New Mexico is Animal Protection of New Mexico. The following information is from one of the fact sheets they send out. Here is what you can do when you find injured animals:
Baby birds Many baby birds are mistaken for orphans during a short "fledgling" period where they have left the nest but still rely on mom and dad for food. Fledgling birds are often found on the ground and assumed to be injured or abandoned. This is not usually the case! Do not move these little birds unless they are in immediate danger of being hit by a lawn mower, stepped on, etc. It is okay to move a fledgling a short distance to a safer place if absolutely necessary. The parents will find it. It is a myth that birds will reject babies touched by humans. Keep a close eye on any baby you think has been abandoned. If the parents do not return to feed it within an hour or so, call a wildlife rehabilitator. Never attempt to give a baby bird water!
Injured birds Place the bird in a box and put it in a quiet place until you can contact a wildlife rehabilitator. Birds that have flown into a window may just be stunned and can probably be released after a little bit of rest. Birds that have been poisoned or have other obvious injuries should be taken to a WR immediately. Remember, outside cats are a leading cause of death to songbirds in this country. Please do not allow your cat to roam outside! Even well-fed cats will hunt birds if given the chance.
Baby rabbits Baby rabbits live in "nests" that are sometimes accidentally uncovered by people. If you uncover a nest, the best thing to do is to gently herd the babies back to the nest and leave them alone. Baby rabbits are easily stressed and extremely difficult to keep alive once they are out of their mother's care. Please do not handle them unless absolutely necessary. They are extremely cute, but will probably not survive if you try to raise them on your own.
Other injured or baby animals Many wild animals are cute, especially babies, and it might be tempting to try and care for one on your own. This is not a good idea! Wild animals can carry parasites and diseases that may be transmissible to you or your companion animals. In addition, wildlife rehabilitators have the facilities and knowledge to address the the very specific needs of various wildlife species.
Wildlife rehabilitators in Albuquerque:
- Talking Talons—281-1227
- Wildlife Rescue of New Mexico—344-2500
For a complete list of authorized wildlife rehabilitators in New Mexico, please call New Mexico Game and Fish at 841-8881.
If you have any questions regarding animal care, call Viki Elkey at 896-7761. Viki is a Campaign Associate with APNM and is very knowledgeable in this area. She is also a very good friend of mine.
Chimps On another but similar note, a number of chimpanzees are no longer being held captive for medical testing at the Coulston Laboratories. They are now living at the Captive Chimpanzee Care Center in Alamogordo.
These once angry chimps now love to play, and have a beautiful smile and unique and wonderful personalities, but they do need some outside help. They need light blankets, which they make into nests. They love to play with toys, particularly Little Tyke toys. Any toys that are made of plastic and have no movable parts and are appropriate for a three-year-old child will do. Also unbreakable mirrors, hairbrushes, and magazines or children's books with lots of pictures would be neat gifts. Food is good also, particularly oatmeal, cornmeal, grits, raisins, Cheerios, creamy peanut butter, and nuts in shells. If you have any of these items and would like to share with these chimps as they try to get over their former life as abused test animals, you can send the items directly to the Captive Chimpanzee Care Center, 1300 La Velle Road, Alamogordo, NM 88310. The chimps will love you for any gifts you send.
Audubon bird talk
On January 15, the Central New Mexico Audubon Society will present “Before Dinosaurs: Amazing Dragonflies,” a talk by Dustin Huntington about some remarkable creatures. New Mexico has the greatest diversity of bird species per area in the United States. The lecture will be at 7:15 p.m. at St. Timothy’s Church at the northwest corner of Copper and Jefferson, a block north of Central and seven blocks west of San Mateo. There is no charge for admission. For additional information, call 505-255-7622.
“Cinco,” rescued from trapper’s trap
Cocker spaniel saved from trap for (wild) furbearers
Anne Heinrich and Angus McDougall of Bernalillo were enjoying a hike in the Ojito Wilderness Study Area in December when Cinco, Anne’s cocker spaniel, started yelping frantically. They found her leg in the jaws of a steel spring-loaded trap. Cinco’s leg was injured, but a lot of blood was coming from her mouth because she was trying to chew the trap off. One of them had to hold the trap open while the other held the dog and pulled her leg out.
While carrying Cinco back to the truck, the hikers encountered the owner of the trap, and things almost got uglier. The trapper demanded to know what they had done with his trap and threatened to have them arrested for interfering with his rights and property.
Angus called the department of game and fish when he got home from the veterinarian’s office, and was surprised to learn that trapping is licensed in most of our public lands unless specified otherwise. However, it is illegal to trap in state and national parks, monuments and wildlife refuges, or within a quarter mile of an occupied dwelling or campground. Most of Los Alamos County is off limits. Trap locations are supposed to be identified with a flag.
Furbearing animals are trapped for their fur, which is usually sold to a furrier. It is always open season on skunks and coyotes. Protected furbearers that must be taken during a spring or winter season include raccoon, badger, weasel, fox, ringtail, bobcats, muskrat, beaver, and nutria. There is no bag limit. Trappers are required to check their traps every twenty-four hours and carry a release device or catch pole to release domestic animals.
Scott Brown with New Mexico Game and Fish says that his agency is responsible for enforcing the laws and monitoring the population of furbearing species. He said that most trappers seek remote areas where their traps won’t be meddled with and they can avoid confrontations with people like Anne and Angus. Brown pointed out that adherence to leash laws will often prevent the inadvertent trapping of dogs.
First phase of WMR site open for animals
We have opened up the first phase of Watermelon Mountain Ranch, an animal adoption, education, and foster-care facility, at our site in Rio Rancho, located on Progress Boulevard, a dirt road near Iris Road. PNMwas kind enough to install a power transformer last summer, and we have installed our part of the electric service.
Thanks to Linda Stallings, we have a sixty-foot office trailer which was moved to the land with an animal intake area. We can process all animals rescued by WMR right here on the land. They will get their WMR control numbers, shots, and microchips. They will be photographed for our Web site so adopters can see them.
The septic system is working along with the water system donated by Chuck Homer. Our well was drilled last summer and is a good one. We have installed our house trailer which will be the home of our new caretakers, Matt and Jennifer Clementson. They will be housed there next month.
We are open for business and will continue to grow as donations of materials and money come in. We are in need of building materials. Our most urgent need is for six-foot fencing and a large water tank. This is an exciting time, and I hope that you will continue to support our efforts in the months to come.
For further information, visit our Web site at www.wmranch.org