The Wildlife Center at Crosstimbers Ranch has received a very special guest that urgently needs your help. His name is Ulyses, and he is only ten weeks old. He has been separated from his mother and siblings, and the poor little guy has suffered some serious trauma in his short life.
Ulyses is a bobcat, and he already has a special place in the hearts of all of the staff members here at WCCR. You see, at this tender age, he has had a little altercation with a dog…that resulted in a compound fracture of his leg, and massive infection. This poor little wild one is terrified and alone, and he can’t even yet have a buddy to comfort him. For now, until his condition improves a bit, his stuffed animal is his closest companion.
The thought of this poor little guy terrified and hurting tugs at my heartstrings every time. Especially when all we can do is sit back, and support him on his journey 😦
Here at Crosstimbers, we do 90% of our medical treatment on site.
There are many reasons for this that I may go into in some future blog, but for right now, my main focus is to help this little one return to the wild. But in order to do that, I am going to have to solicit some help! To rehab a single (healthy) bobcat from kitten to release, costs more than $2,000 and over 12 months in feeding and maintenance alone. Any medical treatment or other operational care all comes at additional expense.
For Ulyses, the cost will probably be more than double that figure.
His tiny leg will be set in his heart emblazoned cast for at least the next six weeks, and he will need some heavy-duty antibiotics (as well as other medications) to battle the massive infection.
Supportive care will also include a special immune system supporting diet and eventually, physical therapy.
Little Ulyses had to be sedated for this procedure, so once his cast was secured, he was placed in isolation to recover from anaesthesia.
His ongoing care, rehabilitation, and physical therapy are going to be major hurdles for WCCR this year. The economy has put a squeeze on us all, and we are definitely feeling it. We are trying to raise $500 towards his ongoing care, and every cent helps.
If every person who read this blog donated just ten dollars, that total sum would mean a massive step towards going back to the wild for this amazing cat! Every bit helps! If you want to be a wildlife hero, click on that donate button on the right hand column! I know we can do this. Lets get Ulyses back to the wild, together!
Last night, right before 2:30 am, a tornado touched down on the grounds of WCCR. The barn cats, the ranch dogs, and our intrepid leader all hunkered down in the corner of the most protected hallway in the ranch house, and waited out the storm. They would not know till light of day the status of the wild ones braving the storm outside. She has been up since then assessing the damage, removing tree limbs from the road, and repairing enclosures.
Happily, all of the wild ones, and even the chickens and peacocks are safe and accounted for. The long terms were all very frazzled and very scared. They needed plenty of reassurance that everything was okay, and that nothing bad was going to happen. We spent ample time with each bobcat, making sure they got the reassurance they needed.
We checked the structural integrity of the enclosures, ensuring that they were not in need of repairs, and assessed the grounds. Trees were broken and splintered, things were broken and strewn across the ground, fences were destroyed, and some enclosures now need repairs. The ranch house suffered too. The chimney is broken, the sky lights and some of the windows are shattered, and we were without electricity for the majority of the day. The poor pinky squirrel on a heating pad in the house was freezing…we had to use the last of the hot water to fill up a bottle for him, wrap it in a towel, and put it in the box with him and hope the power came back on before his water bottle went cold.
Luckily, the power came back on this afternoon. The damages are fairly extensive, and it is looking like it is going to be about $20,000 in repairs. In the excitement, we were unable to make the run out to Fort Worth to pick up additional diet for the bobcats. We were hoping that someone would be able to help us with that today, but unfortunately, no one could make it out.
We are now seeking people willing to come out and volunteer to help us make repairs and clean up the grounds after this storm. Monetary donations to assist with enclosure and grounds repairs would be enormously appreciated as well in this time of need for WCCR. If you can help, please let us know. Any help is greatly appreciated.
Today is another one of those days that I am obsessing about saving WCCR, and have no idea how to do it. I have tried everything I know to do. I have put in multiple grant proposals, and all of them have been turned down so far. I am not a grant writer, and from what I understand, grant writing is not an easy task. I have even tried to contact celebreties…which is amazingly hard, and any services that allow you do to so, charge for it. If you have been reading, you know how I feel about WCCR. It is an amazing organization with all the potential in the world, and it fills a niche in an area where it is sorely needed.
WCCR is the highest volume wildlife rehabilitation center in the region, and the largest bobcat rehabilitation, rescue, and sanctuary in the nation. In two years, nearly ten thousand animals have come through the doors of WCCR. Over 90% of them have returned to the wild, including some amazing success stories like Darlean the three-legged bobcat (I linked her story in a previous post) successfully returned to the wild by WCCR.
The WREN project is one of the most in-depth, hands on, cutting edge programs available on wildlife rehabilitation in the nation, and it is built on a solid plan for expansion. We focus on not only rehabilitating the wildlife, but creating a self-sustaining training program built to teach proper handling and treatment of wildlife in a rehabilitation program, as well as teaching about preserving the environment that these animals depend on upon their release, and stress responsible stewardship through teaching which species of animals can be released into what habitats, and what volumes of animals each release site can handle.
We rely heavily upon private lands and mitigation banks for the release of our animals. Mitigation banks are an invaluable tool to the wildlife of WCCR. They are wetlands that have been, or are in the process of being restored to their natural, untouched state. They are usually large tracts of land, owned by a group of people who possess a formal agreement with regulators establishing liability, performance standards, management, and monitoring requirements, and the terms of bank credit approval (http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/facts/fact16.html) . They provide the perfect habitat for native wildlife.
The preservation, rehabilitation, conservation, and education efforts of WCCR so far, have not been enough. Without the purchase price of the WCCR grounds, we cannot continue to exist. Our deadline is up. Unless we can find people who can donate in large amounts, WCCR will close. Very soon.
The five long-term bobcats, including my beloved Lenny will have to find somewhere to go, and all of the animals in our rehabilitation program will have to be transferred. The WREN project will die, and the blue prints for our state of the art facility will become evidence of the death of a phenomenal facility.
I have been trying other methods to raise the money we need, including creating a facebook cause page http://www.causes.com/causes/577450-the-wildlife-center-at-crosstimbers-ranch/about. I don’t expect facebook to save WCCR, but if we can raise awareness of the plight of one of the largest wildlife rehabilitation and environmental conservation hubs in the state, and even raise a little money to buy some of the things we need for day-to-day expenses (right now, we are looking for $1200.00 to purchase baby formula on causes. We have raised $150.00 for this project), maybe it will give us some relief to look for the big funding we need to purchase our property and keep our doors open.
The thousands of animals that are lucky enough to come through our doors make a huge impact on reducing human effect on the natural world. Every animal that enters the WCCR program is there because of something that a human has done. Be it unknowingly kidnapping a fawn, hitting a mother opossum with a car, finding orphaned/injured animals that another was careless enough to ignore, or removing baby squirrels and raccoons from their dens for various reasons. Without human meddling, the majority of these animals would not be here. Unfortunately, even if WCCR no longer exists, that will not prevent the blunders of human kind. That will leave thousands of wild animals without a second chance, a second chance that without us humans, they most likely would not have needed.
In a way, WCCR, and other facilities like it, work to off set the human effect on the natural world that we have detached ourselves from. And probably the most unfortunate part of it all, is because of the regulations pertaining to wildlife rehabilitation and the practiced, private hand required to return an animal under human care back into a wild environment make it difficult to shed light on these amazing organizations. For this reason, many wildlife rehabilitators remain small-scale, and rehabilitate these animals out of their own pockets. WCCR is trying to change that. But, we must get over this hurdle first.
Here is yet another story about the under dog succeeding. The odds were stacked against her. Alone, badly injured, the critical location of her amputation injury disallowed it to heal in a natural environment. Exhausted, malnourished, and battling a severe infection; yet another bobcat is saved through the networking efforts of a local animal services division and WCCR. Cutting edge therapy and conditioning helped this girl overcome the hand she had been dealt. This is Darlean’s story.
Darlean had an incredible wild spirit, and a steadfast determination to return to her world. WCCR nurtures and heals these broken bodies and souls. We do not determine their timeline. They tell us when they are ready to go. When Darlean told us she was ready, we granted her the freedom she craved.
We never release an animal before we know they are ready. There is no timeline, and no formula to follow. When they are ready, they will tell you. They will reassure you that you have done everything you can possibly do to prepare them to return to a world that you can no longer share with them. It will hurt. It is so easy to get attached to these amazing souls when you work with these animals as closely as we do.
Even if we cannot show our love to these precious creatures through the same affections we lavish on our pets, even if the only possible way to show our love for them is to trust that they are right; that they, and not you, know they are ready, we as rehabilitators must learn to listen to the wild ones. The hardest part of my job as a rehabilitator of wildlife is to listen to my wards when they tell me that it’s time to go. Especially the ones like Darlean that needed that little something extra to return to the world that they belong in. They allow me to have a fleeting glimpse into their world while they healed in my care, and allow me, for a moment, the attachment that comes with sharing such an intimate and secret experience.
Darlean’s release brought with it a rush of elation. So many people worked so hard to grant her wild heart the world it desired. A world that would no longer be a battle for the stronger, energized, and healthy body that she was returning in. A world that would embrace her with open arms, and give her the life she was destined to live.
Darlean’s release also brought controversy. Many who do not understand her powerful desire to return to her world, and the intelligent and adaptable nature of these incredible predators felt it irresponsible to release an animal that they viewed as handicapped. Darlean was far from handicapped, and more than prepared to return to her position in the world. It takes a powerful and determined creature to succeed in a harsh, wild world. Darlean was ready for it. It was her world after all, and her world to return to.
The Wildlife Center at Crosstimbers Ranch is more than a working wildlife rehabilitation center. We are also home to the most comprehensive and inclusive wildlife rehabilitation education program in the nation, and possibly the world.
The name of this curriculum is the WREN project. WREN is an acronym for the Wildlife Rehabilitation Education Network. This class is far more in-depth than any other wildlife rehabilitation class available today. I am a graduate of the project, and I learned far more about the practice of wildlife rehabilitation in this class than I ever expected to.
WREN covers not only the immediate needs of injured, orphaned, sick, and displaced wildlife, but ongoing treatment, wound care, medications and what to use them for, dietary needs, caging, and behavioral observations for a multitude of native Texas species through hands-on in class projects; including learning administration of fluids to dehydrated animals, splinting limbs, and suturing/treatment of wounds.
This season, interest in participating in this program is so intense, that we are looking for a way to house three simultaneous classes. WREN teachers are graduates of this program. WREN is aimed at acting as a starting point for students of all experience levels, and providing a network of qualified resources for everyone in the field.
It provides in-depth basics and specialized treatment approaches for various species from mammals, to reptiles, to everything in between.
This turtle was hit by a car. His damaged shell was epoxied back in shape. A similar case came in during the time that I was in class. We learned how to do this, and what to do afterwards. The information is solid, and accurate, and perpetually useful to anyone in the animal field.
We also relied on case studies that exercised our abilities to judge a situation, and react accordingly. Often, in the business, it is hard to tell exactly what happened to an animal before it came into our care. The case study exercises taught us to look at the clues, and use them to determine what happened to the animal, and then what actions to take in the treatment program for that animal to give it the best chance at success in a wild environment upon it’s release.
This is an incredible class with lots of well-developed information. I believe that anyone interested in a related field would benifit from the information covered in this class. I know I did.