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A Season of Care

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We didn't have any events this past season, but the Iowa Wildlife Center took more calls and cared for a record number of animals of more species than ever before. From all over central Iowa, and beyond, the calls came. "A bunny fell in my window well!" "A squirrel can't move its hind legs." "I have a baby bird, but I can't find the nest." "I have a mama duck with a broken leg and her 12 just-hatched ducklings -- can you take them?" "How can I get rid of this woodchuck in my yard?" We solved problems and calmed fears. And, we received animals.

Turtle and snake, bats and skunks, owls and ducks, and more came in boxes, pillow cases and yogurt cartons. They all needed our dedication. They kept coming. And they pooped and pee'd, ate and ate, and pooped and pee'd some more. We cleaned their wounds, gave them medicine, stimulated babies 'cause momma wasn't here, mixed and heated formulas, studied about special formulas, studied about weaning ages, washed droppers and bottles and syringes and bowls and pens. We bought more special cages for special cases. Early morning feeding, late night feeding, once a day feedings, every 15 minute feedings. And they pooped and pee'd some more. Most found freedom, somehow. Duck and ducklings found the selected pond delightful. adult bats and baby bats felt the night air and swooped and clicked and sang. Bunnies tentatively nibbled on green grass before disappearing into the day. Some found freedom through death. Babies who were too cold or too small or too hungry. Adults who had awful injuries. And some are still with us. The young bat who refused to learn to fly. The snake and turtle that need more healing time.

Soon, we'll share some of these stories with you here. But, for now, know that we gave our hearts to these animals during this season of care.

IWC Steering Committee Member Given Prestigious Conservation Award

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During the 2014 annual conference of The Wildlife Society (TWS), Iowa Chapter, Bruce Ehresman was presented the Iowa Conservation Hall of Fame Award. Ehresman, an Iowa Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Diversity Program Biologist, was humbled by the award, thanking the team of people with whom he works during the ceremony. He said, "Without this team of dedicated people, I could not have accomplished what I have during the past 34 years." Ehresman, an Iowa Wildlife Center Steering Committee member and volunteer, was nominated for the award by one of his peers, Stephanie Shepherd, also a wildlife biologist with the Wildlife Diversity Program. For more information about TWS or the past award winners, which includes Aldo Leopold, J.N. "Ding" Darling, Ada Hayden, Senator Mary Lundy and others, visit www.iowatws.org.

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Iowa DNR Provides Guidance and Caution About White-Nose Syndrome & Rehabilitation of Bat Species! 

There aren't many licensed wildlife rehabilitators in Iowa who care for our various bat species, but those who do should take note: White-Nose Syndrome is knocking on Iowa's door!

Daryl Howell, Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) zoologist and environmental specialist, contacted IWC executive director Marlene Ehresman recently and shared his concerns regarding Iowa's bats and their rehabilitation. While very few of Iowa's licensed wildlife rehabilitators rehabilitate bats (Marlene is one of them), these few should know about important changes regarding caring for these mammals. If any bat, especially if it may have come from an area with natural caves, is found during the winter that has questionable symptoms such as tattered wings or white fungus on the nose (see US FIsh and WIldlife site for information on symptoms), immediately contact either Howell (515-281-8524; Daryl.Howell@dnr.iowa.gov) or Ehresman (515-233-1379; marlene@iowawildlifecenter.org) or a local wildlife rehabilitator. 

Wildlife rehabilitators must also now use extra precautions when over-wintering or rehabilitating bats. Tree foliage-roosting bat species, such as the Silver-haired Bat, and cave-roosting bat species, such as the Big Brown Bat, must be kept isolated from each other.  This means home-based rehabilitators must keep these two groups in completely separate houses, while facilities with appropriate ventilation will need to keep them in separate isolation rooms. Additionally, prior to release the bat(s) must be thoroughly examined to ensure that no bat has developed the fungus while in captivity. Upon release, each bat must go back to the area from which they were originally found.

See Creature Feature for more detailed information about White-Nose Syndrome.




Events

Building, Workshops, Parade, Concert?


Why, yes, we are working on the building again after our season of care, and there are volunteer opportunities for people who like to work with their hands. If you can use a tape measure, hammer a nail, screw and screw, squirt a caulk gun, or fix food for the laborers, we could use your help. Walk-through doors need to have the doorknobs and deadbolts installed. Tyvek will go on the sheathing. The openings for the overhead doors, which will be installed in the next couple of weeks, need the steel flashing installed. The Hardiplank siding will be cut and installed. The steel dripguard will be installed. Not all in that order. The siding installation will take the most time, otherwise, the steps toward getting the ends finally enclosed are fairly small.

Workshops? We're planning a series of winter workshops, including orientation, for our volunteers. Caring for wild patients, telephone tips, rescue techniques and more will be covered.

Parade? Concert? Yes and yes! We are busy organizing our "All Species, One Earth" event to be held in Ames the weekend of April 25th/26th. The All Species Parade and the Douglas Wood WildSpirit Band concert will celebrate the diversity of life around us, reminding us that we are one species among millions of species on a shared planet. Our first partners, Story County Conservation, artist Molly Nagel of Upper Story Studio in Story City, and IWC supporter Mark Widrlechner, have been meeting with us for the past two months. The response to this event has been outstanding as we approach City departments, the conservation, arts and education communities for sponsorships and partnerships. There will be mask and costume-making workshops leading up to the parade, so everyone who identifies with some other species, whether wild or domestic, insect or bird, will have the opportunity to let their creative selves run wild! We'll keep you posted!
Features What To Do if You Find Wildlife That May Need Help Musings from the Executive Director W.H.Y. Squirrels? Volunteer Spotlight Creature Feature IWC Development Phases Decorah Eagle Cam! IWC Wish List Event Overview
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