RAMONA – In the first six months of this year, the Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in Ramona, California has seen an all-time high of patients. Between January 1 to July 1, 2019 the center cared for 588 patients—a 35% increase compared to the same time period last year at 434. Patients include native predatorial mammals like bobcats, coyotes and skunks, and native raptors including hawks and owls.
Other animals at the center are non-predators—rabbits, squirrels and songbirds—brought in by concerned citizens for immediate care and then transferred to specialists in the area.
Skunk, coyote and great horned owl patients are at record highs: 60 skunks this year compared to 32 in 2018; 30 coyotes compared to 16 last year; and 38 great horned owls versus 19. In addition, rare species are treated including an American badger—the first one to be cared for at the Center in over 20 years—and a grey fox mother with her five kits who were unearthed during construction excavation on the San Diego-Mexico border.
Matthew Anderson, director of the Fund for Animals Wildlife Center said, “We are experiencing significant increases in numbers of orphaned and injured wildlife not only in our region but also from observations of other rehabilitation institutions and concerned citizens across the state of California. We are helping far and wide including accepting some of the other facility’s patients in need when they are at capacity, as well as providing medical and rehabilitation advice across the state.”
“There is no question that the significant increases in our patients is related to the unseasonably high rainfall in California this year. The higher water levels, believed to relate to climate change, have led to greater plant growth, booms in prey species commonly seen in this region and in turn increases in the predator populations,” Anderson explains. “This also means higher incidence of orphaned, ill or injured animals in urbanized areas and roadways. Our expert team is here to help make a difference with the hope of ultimately releasing them back into their native habitat.”
If anyone suspects wildlife is orphaned, ill or injured contact a local rehabilitation organization for advice before intervening.