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Fund for Animals News: Fall 2012

Temperatures—and tempos—are changing at our four animal care centers

  • At the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Texas, the crisp fall air inspires Gustavo's playful side. J.P. Bonnelly

  • The bovine residents at Black Beauty Ranch are enjoying fall's lush fields. The HSUS

  • Barney the pot-bellied pig knows how to enjoy the milder fall temperatures at Black Beauty Ranch. The HSUS

  • Herring gulls enjoy the calm waters of the saltwater pool at Cape Wildlife Center. Deborah Millman

  • At Duchess Sanctuary in Oregon, Genny poses picturesquely among the autumn leaves. Jennifer Kunz

  • Each morning, horses emerge from the morning fog for their breakfast at Duchess Sanctuary. Jennifer Kunz

  • Samson enjoys playing with a seasonal squash at the Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in Southern California. The FFA

  • This fall cactus flower brings seasonal beauty to the Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in Southern California. Ali Crumpacker

Spread from coast to coast, each of The Fund for Animals' animal care centers experiences the advent of fall in a unique and beautiful way.

With the Thanksgiving holiday on the way, each center is thankful for this brief respite before winter to reorganize, revitalize and reaffirm its commitment to the thousands of animals who will pass through its doors in the coming year.

Here, our care center staff shares the seasonal changes underway at each sanctuary.

» Cape Wildlife Center: Northeast storms blow in an influx of new patients

As the weather turns cooler and the lovely autumn leaves fall, Cape Wildlife Center sees fewer songbirds and mammals, which gives volunteers and staff time to review treatment protocols and make ongoing improvements to enhance care and rehabilitation.

The cooler weather also brings an influx of new patients to treat, most often migratory seabirds, including pelagic birds who spend most of their lives at sea but have been blown off course by strong autumn winds.

This season, despite the crisp air, those seasonal patients—which include Northern gannets, double-crested cormorants and greater shearwaters—will recover comfortably in Cape Wildlife Center's new, climate-controlled 3,600-gallon saltwater seabird pool and aviary, designed by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution engineers.

» Black Beauty Ranch: Autumn breezes revitalize the Midwest

At the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, animals and people alike are reveling in the colors, the sounds and the peace that the end of summer brings and the winter quickly carries away, with a quiet understanding that fall comes to an end far too soon in east Texas.

After a lazy, hot summer, the cool weather has re-energized all the animals. Every afternoon, the air is full of gibbons singing, tigers roaring and lone donkeys braying to one another across the vast pastures.

The care teams at Black Beauty Ranch are likewise feeling refreshed by the crisp autumn breezes, busily preparing for the fall open houses and tackling projects that were nearly impossible to complete during the broiling summer heat.

» Duchess Sanctuary: Fuzzy fall coats stave off the chilly Northwest fog

Autumn at Duchess Sanctuary in Oregon brings falling leaves and fuzzy horses. Winter coats are coming in; gone are the sleek horses of mid-summer. The hot, dry weather has been replaced by cooler temperatures, and the fall rain is already turning the brown grass green. Wildlife is plentiful, with daily sightings of deer and birds, the occasional sign of bear and bobcat, and Canada Geese migrating overhead in their typical noisy fashion.

Most days begin with dense fog, through which horses can be seen emerging every morning for their breakfast. Staff are hard at work finishing winter facility preparations—moving special-needs horses inside for supplemental feed during the colder weather and evaluating the body condition and dental-care needs for older equine residents.

» Fund for Animals Wildlife Center: Respite from desert heat sparks new growth

At the Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in Southern California, the temperatures are almost down to double digits, only peaking above 100 for a short time each day.

The grounds at the FFAWC are quieter, as all of the coyotes raised this year (17 in all!) have been successfully returned to the wild. In a few weeks, the eight remaining bobcats will also be ready to venture out on their own, and our rehab team is busy scouting out the perfect locations for their release. 

Our interns and volunteers are tackling the deep cleaning of enclosures and sprucing up the grounds in preparation for next year's baby season, which will start in February. 

Meanwhile, foliage is coming alive again; as trees throw out new shoots, succulents are coming out of summer hibernation and beginning to grow. The giant cactus next to our patient intake area is in full bloom, revealing its impressive, six-inch white flowers only to the first volunteers who arrive before dawn and the last who leave at sunset.

Animal care center directors Deborah Millman (Cape Wildlife Center), Ben Callison (Black Beauty Ranch), Jennifer Kunz (Duchess Sanctuary) and Ali Crumpacker (Fund for Animals Wildlife Center) contributed to this article. The care centers are operated by The Fund for Animals in partnership with The HSUS. Learn about the other care center under the HSUS umbrella, the South Florida Wildlife Center.
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