Fire at Memaloose Again; Another Evacuation

By Shannon Perry

I would really like to leave the topic of fire alone, but you may have heard there was another fire at Memaloose down below the clinic on the freeway. Humans and animals were evacuated safely and await return. I will post an update when they are home, but wanted to put out word that everyone is safe. Thanks for your concern.

https://www.kgw.com/article/weather/wildfires/evacuations-ordered-as-fire-breaks-out-near-memaloose-state-park/283-582848710

Grieving With the Orcas

https://flic.kr/p/nuro3J

By Shannon Perry

Anyone following the news of the dead baby Orca can’t help but feel deep sadness on seeing the images of the mother pushing her baby through the water, and diving to lift it up when it starts to sink. In addition, a four-year-old female is very ill, and scientists are offering her food and giving her antibiotics. A task force created by Washington governor Jay Inslee is looking at causes of their struggles. Some on the committee say this is the last chance to make a difference for this pod. Recommendations that were proposed 20 years ago haven’t been put in place.

Despite being listed as endangered, their numbers continue to decline. Main factors are loss of salmon, their main food source, exposure to toxins in food that store in the orca’s fat, and disturbance by ocean going traffic.

Wondering how to help? Here’s a Canadian group.

https://www.orcarescue.com

To follow this story, check out the following links.

https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/orca-task-force-to-tackle-dwindling-prey-water-toxins/281-581266600

https://www.king5.com/article/tech/science/environment/as-another-orca-falters-daring-rescue-plan-is-hatched/281-580152666

https://defenders.org/magazine/spring-2016/looking-sound-solution

 

Wildlife and Wildfire

By Shannon Perry

Soon after our animals returned from evacuation, we found ourselves hosting the raptors from the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center due to a brush fire. First responders did an amazing job of containing that fire to 19 acres and the birds returned to the center. It got me thinking about wildfire again.

As the effects of climate change increase, one that impacts our world is the growing length of the wildfire season. We may cringe at the idea of animals dying in fires, yet there is evidence that there are some animals that benefit from fire. Others are disadvantaged and their populations decline. In a study, fishers, western bluebirds, and cavity nesters increased in population, while mountain chickadees declined, as did spotted owls. Cavity nesters such as Lewis’ woodpeckers benefitted due to standing snags. However, salvage logging removes this habitat. 

If you’d like more information, please read the selected links.

http://wildlife.org/wildfire-toward-understanding-its-effects-on-wildlife-from-the-wildlife-professional/

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/07/140721-animals-wildlife-wildfires-nation-forests-science/

Baby Animal Season Continues

By Shannon Perry

We have had quite a variety of baby animals coming into the clinic. Sometimes we are able to send them back from where they came, as in the case of a baby robin from an orchard. It was uninjured so we fed it and sent it back with the kind young man who found it to return in the vicinity where it was found.

Other babies have been injured or caught by a cat or dog and we do our best to nurture them along. Please consider keeping your kitty indoors. Here are some tips to help you both assess the need for help, and to keep wildlife safe from cats.

http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/injured_orphaned_wildlife.html

http://www.humanesociety.org/news/magazines/2011/01-02/peaceable_backyard_kingdom_protect_cats_wildlife_01032011.html

Photo credits: Humane Society

Safe From Fire

By Shannon Perry

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a harrowing 24 hours, but the animals are all safely back home. The fire was coming up the ravine below the clinic, not really close but too close for comfort. Fortunately the firefighters set up on a long gravel drive there, and that gave comfort.

You can’t really wait until the last minute to evacuate 40+ birds. Many thanks to Elijah Schneider and Jill Barker (shown) and Beagle Barker (not shown) for bringing carriers, a transport van, and packing up patients

The animals are settled back  into their various cages and much happier for it.

Fire in Rowena

By Shannon Perry

You may have heard that a fire started north of I84 by the Memaloose rest area Friday evening (July6). It jumped the freeway and came up the hill toward Rowena. The clinic was on level two evacuation threat, which means be packed and ready. So Jean evacuated many of the animals to be on the safe side. We could have carried on just fine without this added excitement and stress, but all the animals and Jean are safe.

The last word I heard was that the clinic is still in level one evacuation with level two nearby. I will keep you posted as to progress getting the animals back to the clinic.

Best wishes to neighbors in the area that you are safe and your homes unthreatened.

Cute, Cuddly…Wolverines

By Shannon Perry

Two chubby, furry wolverine  kits roughed and tumbled together in the snow in Washington State this spring. What’s very special about these two and their mother is that they have been spotted in the southern Cascades for the first time in a very long time. The largest member of the weasel family, they will need to travel far to find mates. A wildlife overpass system in Washington may help them out.

There probably were never many wolverines in the U.S., but their numbers dwindled severely. They were exterminated in Washington in the early 1900s; trappers resented them eating their bait and taking their trappings. They were also hunted extensively. These are probably genetically related to a Canadian population. It’s estimated that only about 300 can be found in the U.S. today.

Dependent on deep snow that lasts into the late spring, they are sensitive to climate change. We hope their tenacity pays off.

For more information, go to: https://www.conservationnw.org/our-work/wildlife/wolverine/


Greetings; lamprey and keystone species

Gentleman holding a lamprey

Good News For the Lamprey

Aaron Jackson is a wildlife biologist for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla. He had never seen a lamprey in the Umatilla River. Lamprey are an important cultural icon for the tribes as a food and for use in ceremonies. In rivers such as the Umatilla, they have been absent for many years.
Through joint efforts of the Bonneville Power Association
and the tribes, including transporting around dams, there has been a big improvement in their numbers. Counters have seen more than 2600 migrating this spring. This is still too small a population to harvest.
Lamprey spend up to seven years as larvae and then migrate to the sea for about three years, returning to spawn in streams.
Lamprey used to be considered a “trash fish” and were destroyed in the ‘60s and ‘70’s through the use of pesticides to make way for more desirable species.
The 25 year project is bringing results. Aaron expressed frustration that funding is seeing a downturn in 2019 BPA budget, but hope they will be able to work on other projects such as rearing lamprey in hatcheries as salmon currently are raised.
For more on the lamprey, follow this link: https://www.opb.org/news/article/record-lamprey-umatilla-native-tribes/

Keystone species  

Robert Paine studied Pacific Northwest Intertidal species in the 1960s and identified what he called keystone species. All wildlife is important, including common animals, but certain species have a greater impact on their habitat; if they suffer so does the habitat.
Plants can be keystone species as well, such as kelp forests. They provide shelter for otters and nutrient-rich food for their prey. Removing just one keystone species can have a drastic impact on an ecology. Wolves are an excellent example of a keystone species.
Among the animals that are returning or could return are condors, wolverines, and sea otters.
The health of a habitat is beneficial to us all. Bird watching, fishing, and ecotourism are good for the economy, especially in rural areas. But in the end, it comes down to our values.

For more information please read: http://www.oregonwild.org/wildlife/keystone-species

I’d like to introduce myself. I’m Shannon Perry, and I have the pleasure of writing the blog for the Rowena Wildlife Clinic. I am a retired teacher from Hood River who has taken up work at the clinic now that I have more time. I look forward to this new experience and hearing back from you.

Many thanks to Tracie for her service to RWC!

Be sure that baby animal really needs rescuing: Oregon OKs boosting water for fish

Be sure that baby animal really needs rescuing

After a relatively quiet spring, Rowena Wildlife Clinic is busy again with requests to help injured animals. But before you take an animal away from its home, please be sure it really needs rescuing.

This is the time of year when wild baby mammals and birds are often found by humans, seemingly abandoned and needing help. However, that’s sometimes not the case; mom could be nearby simply foraging, or in the case of birds, she may simply waiting for the fledgling to figure out how to fly off the ground.

To find out if and when you should remove an animal from the wild, see Injured Animals – What You Can Do on the RWC website. Scroll down the page to see when you should not pick up an animal.

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Oregon court OKs boosting water spill to aid fish at Northwest dams

Last month the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed an order to spill more water over Columbia and Snake river dams to help protect salmon and steelhead and aid their migration to the sea.

Get more information about this good news in The Oregonian.

Chinook salmon Courtesy USFWS

Chinook salmon
Courtesy USFWS

 

 

Scientists say antidepressants could change the ecosystem

Speaking of fish, the journal Environmental Science and Technology last summer published a disturbing report that antidepressant drugs, moving through the wastewater treatment process to lakes and rivers, have been found in multiple Great Lakes fish species’ brains.

For a synopsis of the study, see this article in the Detroit Free Press.

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My last blog post

This will be my last blog post for Rowena Wildlife Clinic. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. But homeless domestic animals are calling for my help (or so it seems to me!) and my time is getting stretched thin.

Thank you for your care and concern for wild animals! And don’t forget to donate to Rowena Wildlife Clinic! All donations are tax-deductible.

-Tracie Hornung