Tahoe wildlife rescued from devastating fires

Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Yarmouth Port, MA
As displaced residents return to their homes, injured animals continue to surface from the scorched remains left by the Angora fire that ravaged the Lake Tahoe area. The fire, which was reportedly caused by a smoldering campfire, burnt more than 3,100 acres across prime black bear habitat and displaced wildlife across the region. Dazed and confused animals have emerged in recent days suffering from burns, mostly to their feet. IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare - www.ifaw.org) is partnering with the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care to assist in the rescue and rehabilitation of these orphaned and injured animals.
In addition to bear cubs, affected species include bobcats, coyotes, porcupines, and squirrels. People encountering injured and dehydrated wildlife are asked to be careful. “Leave injured wildlife alone and call people who are trained,” said Cheryl Milham, Executive Director of  Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care. "If there's something wrong, stay at a distance, you need to know what to do with wildlife.”
 
The United States Forest Service (USFS) has planned a program of forest thinning to help protect communities and the fragile Tahoe environment. 38,000 acres of the Tahoe forests will be thinned and burnt over the next 10 years to reduce the possibility of future fires growing into devastating ‘crown blazes’ like the Angora fire. While in principle this measure is good for both people and animals in the region, there are strong concerns from wildlife rescuers that it may in fact threaten the forest wildlife. “Forest thinning is planned to take place in every month, including baby season from May to July, when many of the resident forest wild animals and birds breed and rear their young. This could result in a large number of baby animals being killed in the very process supposed to protect them,” said Cheryl Milham. “Plans for forest thinning should take into account the breeding seasons of forest wildlife and avoid activity when it presents a threat to vulnerable babies present in the environment.”  
 
For now, IFAW and LTWC staff, continue to rescue injured and displaced wildlife in Lake Tahoe. “The fire has destroyed the habitat of native wildlife and now animals are venturing into human areas to look for food,” said Jennifer Miller of IFAW. “IFAW and LTWC are trying to get to these animals, as well as the injured ones, to help nurse them back to health and return them to the wild.”

When encountering wandering wildlife in Lake Tahoe please call Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care - 530-577-CARE (2273)

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