We have a handful of animals unable to be released for various reasons. These animals often serve as surrogate parents to newborn orphans brought to us by the community. Read some of our residents’ stories and adopt one to help wildlife that can be released.
Bubba was admitted to the Center as a fledgling Great Horned Owl with a broken wing. His fracture healed very well and eventually Bubba was released back into the wild. Some time later, Bubba returned to the Center on his own. He was extremely emaciated and came back looking for food. When he was healthy again and put in the flight cage, the director of the Center discovered that although Bubba was able to fly and maneuver through the air flawlessly, his wings were no longer silent. Because of scarring, a critical serrated feather would never regrow on his wing. Silent flying is necessary for Great Horned Owls to hunt successfully – but Bubba sounds like a freight train! Bubba became a permanent resident and is the senior statesman of the Center’s education team.
Egor, an American Black Vulture, had a tragic beginning to life. Tethered to a pole in a medicinal shop in South Tucson, his talons were being cut off to use in potions. Luckily, Egor is a very intelligent bird. He managed to escape his chains and flew onto the roof of a neighbor’s store. The store owner called our Center and Egor was soon rescued and saved from further harm. It is unclear what the vulture was fed, but an x-ray showed a fractured leg and 14 stress fractures throughout his body. He had obviously not received the calcium he needed to build strong bones. Egor was nursed back to health and was released. But, having spent his whole life around humans, Egor refused to leave the Center. He is now an educational animal and helps us educate people on the dangers to animals when they interfere with an animal’s young life.
The Center received a call about a javelina that was down and we went out, tranquilized her, and took her to Dr. Quick’s veterinary clinic for X-rays. The X-rays showed 9 bullets in her hind end, a fractured pelvis, and a surprise. Buckshot Annie, as she was now known, was pregnant with twins! She was taken back to the Center and cared for until she had her babies. Because she has arthritis from the fractured pelvis, she was not releasable. She has become the most fantastic foster mother for every little scared, orphaned baby javelina she meets!
Lightning is a rare white Red-tailed hawk. He has a recessive white color gene that rarely expresses itself. He was admitted to the Center in the summer of 2006, extremely emaciated and very close to death. A BLM biologist had found him on the Arizona and New Mexico border. The summer sun had frayed his fragile feathers and he could no longer fly. At the Center, Lightning was nursed back to health over several months. Because of the sun’s effect on his non-pigmented feathers, Lightning could not survive in the wild and has become a permanent resident of TWC. He has adjusted so well that he likes his morning meal hand-fed to him!
Ruby was illegally taken from the wild when she was a baby bobcat and kept as a pet. When she became weak and sick, the people who had taken her called our Center. Shortly thereafter, the Center received a mother bobcat with two kittens of her own. The mother accepted Ruby and acted as a surrogate mother. The Center eventually released the mother and all three babies back into the wild. But Ruby, who had become so habituated to humans, kept approaching people near the land where she was released. The Center took Ruby back because she could not survive in the wild. Ruby is now a permanent resident and has become a wonderful surrogate mother.
Wilbur was only a tiny two week old bobcat kitten when he was found all alone at a construction site. He had serious head injuries caused by bulldozers. A young boy from the Yaqui Nation brought him to the Tucson Wildlife Center. His head injury caused seizures. We were able to control the seizures with proper, daily medication. He will need this medicine for the rest of his life. Wilbur is a very happy bobcat with an especially gentle soul and is one of our more popular educational animals.
Grandpa was found as an adult ,seeking protection against a desert home.A gentleman called Tucson Wildlife Center,and we found him unconscious,dying from severe wounds and infection.After days of intensive care,he regained consciousness,and began to heal.He was older,and his injuries had left him with permanent disabilities,mostly in the leg joint.By this time,he was non-releasable.We names him Grandpa,and hoped he would help Foster orphans.We already had a female on site named Grandma ,who was also non-releasable,and when they met,they fell in love.Being spayed and neutered,they cannot have babies of their own,but together they cuddle and nurture scared,orphaned and sick baby javelina.They have never met a baby they didn’t love!
Maurice came in as a sick older pup.Medical tests revealed he has a long lasting disease that he would eventually recover from,but would render him non-releasable.He was eventually introduced to a female coyote resident,Marie,who is partially deaf,and also non-releasable.They became fast friends,and Foster our orphaned coyote pups together,until the pups are old enough to be released. Maurice is a great Foster Father;He plays and sleeps with the pups,and models coyote behavior.