25,000 critters saved in 20 years
You are driving in the country and out of nowhere, an animal (a squirrel, raccoon, fox, possum) darts out across the road. You have no time to react and your car hits the animal. You are upset. You get out of your car to look at the animal and see that it is not dead, only injured. It’s still alive, what do you do?
Most of us don’t think about this problem until we have an immediate need. The fact is, no state or local government agency deals with the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife living in Sonoma County.
I am the executive director of Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue (SCWR), the largest Sonoma County nonprofit organization whose mission is to rescue and rehabilitate injured and orphaned wildlife.
For the past 30 years, we have quietly served all 1,786 square miles of Sonoma County. The vast majority of our rescues involve an interaction between a human and a wild animal in which the animal comes out the loser. Here are a few examples of the calls we responded to this year:
April 24: A mother fox was hit and killed by a car, her two babies huddled next to her body on the side of a busy road. Our volunteer took the emaciated, dehydrated babies to the SCWR hospital in Cotati. There they thrived, and five months later were released back into the wild.
May 17: A red-shouldered hawk suffered a gunshot in its wing and was found hopping around, near starvation. We captured it and after five months of specialized care, released it to the wild.
Oct. 10: A raccoon was found with its leg caught in a steel jaws trap (illegal because it is so inhumane.) The trap had dug into the bone and the raccoon had been dragging it around for days. The raccoon was so badly injured, all we could do was euthanize it, ending its suffering.
By law, Animal Control can only euthanize an injured or orphaned animal. Our organization exists to bridge the gap created by limited county resources. At our five-acre rehabilitation and hospital center in Cotati, our small staff works with scores of volunteers to respond to thousands of calls.
A team of experienced volunteers operates the SCWR hotline (523-8556), seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Responding to hotline calls, another team of staff and volunteers can receive and treat the injured or orphaned animals from all over the county. This year we launched a satellite hospital in Kenwood to better serve Kenwood and Sonoma Valley
SCWR receives no government funding and is dependent solely on donations to fund our efforts. It’s hard to imagine, but if our organization didn’t exist, neither would the more than 25,000 animals we have rehabilitated over the past 20 years.
We have little time to publicize our work and do traditional fundraising. If you support our mission, please help us to be there for the wildlife in Sonoma County. Donations can be sent to SCWR, P.O. Box 448, Cotati, CA 94931.