It was a very quiet winter for the hotline. That all ended in June, with a record breaking heat dome and a warm spring combining to create many wildlife emergencies.
The warm, dry spring led to a burgeoning population of all types of wildlife causing our only physical, medical resource to be completely overwhelmed and stop taking patients. This complicated many calls as we could no longer offer a location for even the most urgent of cases. Then the heatwave hit.
Wild Animal Rescue of Lane County, like many other wildlife agencies, was overwhelmed by the volume of calls due to birds kicking nestlings out early, fawns separated from parents and ground mammals suffering from the heat. Our phones took more calls in June than the last four years combined.
Many people seemed surprised that wild animals may be unable to mitigate extreme conditions themselves. The conditions brought on by climate change are even more difficult for animals to navigate as they generally lack shelter and fresh water.
While planting bushes, trees and installing natural water features are amazing to aid them, not everyone can do these things. Please also consider leaving out a box to create a shade location and small, shallow containers of water, if it’s a possibility. Also, don’t be surprised if you see animals in distress, acting strangely, or chased out of their normal sleeping schedule and safety due to heatstroke or hyperthermia.
As always, we are here 24 hours a day to help anyway we can. Local wildlife agencies need volunteers too, so if you’ve got time, consider reaching out.