Posts Tagged ‘us fish and wildlife service’

Where do you go when you have a harmed hummingbird?  A banged-up bunny?  An orphaned owl?  On the Central Coast, you can take your injured animals to Pacific Wildlife Care, the largest animal rehabilitation center in San Luis Obispo County.  PWC is committed to caring for and reintroducing damaged and orphaned wildlife back into their respective habitats.  In addition to medical treatment, the non-profit organization also provides educational material and outreach programs to the community.

Founded in 2007 and licensed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the PWC is one of 12 primary facilitiesfor the Oiled Wildlife Care Network.  A 24-hour, 365 day telephone line is available for information and public appeals to aid injured animals.  Their dedicated group of volunteers staff the Center around the clock, making sure that all new patients are properly transported, accepted, treated, and eventually released. Their doors are open from 8am-6pm for walk-in evaluations  at their offices in Morro Bay.

Located right off of Highway 101, the PWC houses a state of the art facility to examine, house, and nourish a number of wild species.  They take in nearly 1,500 animals each year, carefully cataloging and charting their progress from their first moments inside the PWC to their departure back into the wild.  Hotline operators and the FAQ section of their website advises rescuers on how to stabilize their charges and usher them to the professionals. Their participation in community events further instructs humans on how to care for their fellow species through live animal presentations and talks.

To help care for wildlife in distress, call the PWC hotline at 1-800-WILD (9453).  Volunteers have many opportunities to aid in rescue!  Visit their site to sign up for training manning the emergency response line, transporting injured animals, education outreach, fundraising, maintenance and repair work, feeding, and cleaning.  Donations to the PWC, sponsorships, and membership purchases can be made through their online giving center.

Nestled into the Santa Lucia Mountains of the Los Padres National Forest sits the Hi Mountain Condor Lookout, a fully restored fire tower, research facility, and tracking station.  Sponsored by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Morro Coast Audubon Society, US Forest ServiceCal Poly San Luis Obispo, and the Ventana Wildlife Society, Hi Mountain is right in the middle of prime habitat for the endangered California condor and the peregrine falcon.  In addition to observing these magnificent birds, the organization offers internships for biology students and public outreach programs throughout the year.

It is no mystery why people flock to Hi Mountain.  Aside from the stunning views atop their 3198 foot perch, the Lookout offers the opportunity to glimpse the majestic California condor, a bird with an impressive 9.8 foot wingspan and weight of nearly 30 pounds.  With jet black feathers contrasted with white patches on the underside of its wings, and reddish-orange bald heads, these scavengers are certainly a noteworthy sight in the skies over Big Sur.  While these birds can live up to 60 years, their mere existence has been in peril over the last century.  Due to poaching, habitat destruction, and lead poisoning, their numbers dwindled to only 22 in 1987.  Facing extinction, the US Government captured the remaining wild individuals in order to create a critical captive breeding program led by the San Diego and Los Angeles Zoos.  As of last year, there were 310 condors known to be living, with 210 of them having been reintroduced to their native ecosystems.

Join the Hi Mountain Lookout crew this Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19th, and Sunday, May 20th for a weekend remembering a remarkable man.  The Mike Tyner Memorial Event begins at 5:30 on Friday evening for a potluck and owl observation.  Continuing into Saturday, the gathering will feature opportunities to share memories of Mike, conduct repairs on the station, hiking tours, birding, and potluck. A condor biologist, naturalist, and Hi Mountain intern, Mike will be sorely missed by his friends and family.  To make a tax deductible donation to his Memorial Internship Fund, send contributions by mail to the Morro Coast Audubon Society, PO Box 1507, Morro Bay, CA 93443 or online.

For questions and details, contact Steve Schubert at (805) 628 6138, Francis Villablanca at (805) 748-1014, Marcelle at (806) 927-1017, or Joel Weiss at (805) 801-6236.

Have any condor sightings?  There has been a recent report of one over Diablo Canyon Power Plant, a spectacle that has not been glimpsed for over 40 years!

The Otter Project

For some of us, the 80’s were hard.  They meant ill-advised side ponytails, far too much spandex, and awkward high school social interactions.  Yet, no matter how rough it may have been for humans, the sea otters living off the California coast had a much tougher go of things.

In 1987, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, under the advice of Ronald Reagan and Strom Thurmond established a “No-Otter Zone” spanning from Point Conception south to the Mexican Border.  The Zone was created in response to complaints from the fishing industry that the otters were a threat to commercial species, and from oil companies worried that having such a cute and cuddly ocean ambassador would impede their drilling activities.

Even though the otters were protected by the Endangered Species Act as well as the Marine Mammal Protection Act, these animals were translocated to an “experimental” colony around San Nicholas Island in efforts to manage their populations.  The reasoning for the move was that in the event of an oil spill, large numbers of otters would perish, leaving the stocks depleted.  Having a reserve colony off the distant Channel Island could in effect save the bloodline and preserve genetic diversity.

Sadly, the translocation project was an abject failure.  Many otters died, disappeared, or swam back to their previous homes.  In 1993, only 12 otters out of the expected 150 lived off of the island.  The FWS found itself moving otters back at the cost of nearly $10,000 per animal, and encountered dead or sick otters that could have suffered adverse effects from transportation.  The FWS decided to stop containing the otters, but also did nothing to alter the law.

After years of lawsuits brought by both fisherman and environmentalists, the No-Otter Zone remains in effect although not enforced.  Otters are moving back into the the territory, but are still considered vulnerable until the legislation is officially repealed.

To advocate for protecting the otters, community members are invited to attend the FWS’s upcoming hearing in Santa Barbara on October4 from 5-8pm at the Fleischman Auditorium at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.  In addition, supporters are encouraged to write the FWS and local senators and representatives asking for a repeal of the No-Otter Zone.

For more information, visit the Otter Project’s Website to see how you can help one of California’s most famous residents!