On a typical day, LTWC finds and receives injured and sick animals of all kinds – from bears to barn owls – and helps them get back to the wilderness. Sometimes that means mothering baby coyotes until they are ready to hunt on their own, or helping enormous birds of prey regain their ability to fly.
Some animals live permanently at the center, including the fan favorite Em, a bald eagle with a broken wing who has been there since 2015. There’s also Porky the porcupine, who captures hearts with his signature waddle and camera-friendly chow sessions eating corn on the cob.
Erfani says it’s the first time a fire has put their mission in jeopardy. Our mission is the rescue, rehabilitation and release,” he said. “But you can’t release animals in a burn scar area because there’s no food source.” As wildfires worsen across the west, animals are increasingly bearing the brunt, and firefighters, teams of state-funded disaster veterinarians, and rescue centers like LTWC are redoubling their efforts to save whoever they can.
“There’s always been this prevailing mindset that ‘they’ll get out of the way’, or that they can manage if left alone, but that needs to change,” said Dr Jamie Peyton of the University of California, Davis, who is part of a collaborative wildlife search and rescue team founded in 2020 between the university and the California department of fish and wildlife called the Wildlife Disaster Network. “Without human interference, these animals will suffer and succumb, due not only to their injuries but also to the loss of food, water and habitat. It is our obligation to provide the missing link for the wildlife that share our home.”
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction