Each year we remember the lives of the animals we’ve loved and cared for who have passed away. This year we also honor the lives of two volunteers who made a difference in the lives of the animals who live at Wildlife Images.
Nestle – North American River Otter
Nestle delighted guests for nearly a decade as the Queen of Critter Creek. This former Hollywood actress retired to Wildlife Images in March 2011. During her time with animal talent agency Birds & Animals Unlimited, Nestle was most notably in the Steve Carell movie Evan Almighty. She played both the male and female otter role in the modern day telling of the biblical story of Noah. The original plan for Nestle and her Critter Creek home was to have a family of otters live together. Ever the Hollywood diva, Nestle made it clear she wanted the space, and the limelight all to herself. An actress to the end, Nestle was a long time favorite of visitors as she put on a show at her viewing windows. She would often put her paw up to a child’s hand or give the most perfect otter eyes to woo her fans. However, Nestle’s keepers knew this star valued her personal space and would let you know if you came to close.
Pinocchio & Geppetto – Sacred African Ibis
This bonded pair arrived in 1999 from the World Bird Sanctuary where they were originally meant for a species conservation breeding program. For years, these two built nests in hopes of building a family. Once they arrived for retirement at Wildlife Images we were able to confirm both Pinocchio and Geppetto were ladies hence the lack of a fertilized egg. This didn’t seem to bother these two mothers at heart. Guests were often treated to their affectionate bickering and their loud, protective calls if anyone got too close to their nest.
Thomas – Desert Tortoise
Thomas was found wandering around downtown Grants Pass. After he was saved from the sidewalk in 2001, he came to live at Wildlife Images. Thomas had a disease that was highly contagious to other reptiles. His care was regimented to provide both a high quality of life and safety for other residents. Perhaps it was his lot in life mixed with his sweet temperament that made him a favorite of the volunteers who helped care for him.
Onyx – Common Raven
Onyx the raven was a friend to so many visitors. His quirky personality made him a favorite among volunteers, staff and guests. As a member of the corvid family this special bird certainly remembered his friends and if you were lucky he would offer a special gift. Perhaps the greatest gift Onyx ever shared was teaching us to reflect on the intelligence and personalities of the common ravens that we share our world with. Onyx came to Wildlife Images for rehabilitation in the summer of 2008, the same year he was hatched. Onyx was brought in by a member of the public because he was unable to fly well. Upon his exam on intake, we discovered that he has a fracture on his wing that prevents him from ever being able to fly well enough to be released.
Jim had a zest for life and had many loves. One of his greatest loves was capturing photos of wildlife, especially the birds of prey. That lead him to volunteer at Wildlife Images where he spent many hours volunteering and working with the Birds of Prey. He was an accomplished photographer, mentor and was President of Caveman Camera Club for several terms. He won many awards throughout the Pacific Northwest. Prior to his retirement, Jim was an educator and had many students that became successful individuals. He left a positive mark on whoever he met and is missed greatly.
Joslyn St. John
Many of the volunteers at Wildlife Images create special relationships with the animals they help care for and Joslyn was no exception. When volunteering Joslyn would be sure to stop and visit a few of her favorites. She would often talk to Nestle the River Otter and Onyx the Raven. Joslyn treasured a heart shaped rock that Onyx one brought to her. As a proud Native American, Joslyn’s care for animals and the natural world was always apparent and will never be replaced.