A young skunk with severe burns was admitted to our clinic this week. She is a victim of the Obenchain Fire in Jackson County. A week before that, firefighters rescued a badger with fire related injuries. Each year, thousands and thousands of animals die in wildfires across the United States. Fire can play an important part in the rejuvenation of an ecosystem. However, human caused fires, urban sprawl and general habitat destruction makes this natural process even more devastating for wildlife.
As part of this latest patient’s treatment we gently cleaned her burned paws, applied a medicated ointment, gave her pain medication, antibiotics and fluids. Unfortunately, her condition was so poor that she passed away overnight. She represents thousands of other patients who never make it to a rehabilitation clinic for treatment. A young red-tailed hawk came in from near the Almeda Fire with suspected smoke inhalation. This patient also passed away.
Some, however, are lucky. Typically, a firefighter or occasionally a kind-hearted person spots a struggling animal and provides a ride to Wildlife Images. A morning dove came in, unable to fly, the day after the Obenchain Fire started. She was picked up off the driveway as the family evacuated. We also received numerous squirrel babies. These helpless animals may have been abandoned as their parents fled for safety.
It is always important to prioritize your personal safety when dealing with wild animals. Wildlife Images urges extreme caution when approaching any animal, especially when that animal is in pain or distressed. Please call our Wildlife Clinic at 541-476-0222 before approaching an animal you think may be in need of help.