I recently received this email from Brenda Varvarigos, Executive Director of Valley Wildlife Care that I wanted to share with you:
As La Canada fills with the flames and smoke generated by the ongoing California wildfires, a mother wild parrot nervously throws her just hatched babies from the nest box high in a palm tree down to the ground where humans and fire fighters are fleeing. Since the mom cannot pick up her babies, she assumed throwing them to the ground would be her babies only chance of survival. And who said animals can't think?
There were five total. Two died on impact, leaving three to come to us at Valley Wildlife Care and receive a second chance at life. The newborn baby yellow chevroned parakeets are doing well and aside from some bruising, thriving. Thank you to everyone who is helping to support us during these times.
Fire, maternal instinct and human compassion…Forces of nature
It has been an emotional week for those of us living in the Los Angeles area. I awake to the larger than life image of the devastation occurring only miles up the road.
But fortunately the magnitude of this tragedy is then punctuated by the wonders represented in a story like the one above. Whenever a natural disaster is reported on the news, I am always struck by how absent, or secondary, are reports about the impact on all species other than humans -- 99.999 % of life on this planet. When forest fires result in a report that 'no lives were lost,' I suddenly feel alone in my awareness that this is entirely untrue. Full habitats are destroyed, and the lives of wild animals, farm animals and companion ones are almost invariably swept up in the thousands by the tragedy.
But then I am reminded, like I was by Brenda's email above, that there are amazing people out there braving the elements to get members of other species the help they all rightly deserve. They are as concerned about the frightened turtle ambling along the road as they are about the stranded family dog that has been loved for years. This past week animal loving heroes were working overtime, alongside our brave firefighters, to do a job that requires the manpower of a full army. Volunteers, not required to do so by any laws or mandates, jumped in to do their part for our fellow creatures, who may have had no chance of survival without these compassionate comrades.
While… A basset hound rescue was rapidly calling on volunteers in preparation to evacuate.
A farm animal sanctuary was relocating chickens, cows, emus and pigs alike.
Already overcrowded animal shelters were providing housing for lost and abandoned family pets by the hundreds.
At the same time...
A wild mother parrot was making an undoubtedly difficult choice to push her young from the nest so they might survive. And in a gesture of solidarity, a friendly human hand swept in to rush them to safety, providing the life saving link in a chain whose last link was the mother's fateful nudge.
The acts of those above represent one of the best attributes of humankind -- the ability to be humane -- a choice any and all of us can make at will. What a gift! I have spoken a great deal about the life saving power inherent in the choice to adopt. And now I am speaking of that same concept more broadly: the power to make a difference. While these particular fires may be physically limited to the hills of Southern California, their impact is far-reaching. Though specific animals are impacted more directly in L.A., their kin are in need everywhere. All wildlife and every animal waiting in overcrowded shelters are victims of this fire. Have a look at this video: Ode to Station Fire
My experience during the hurricane Katrina animal rescue effort showed me how animal advocacy groups work together across state lines to assist in such endeavors. They constantly move resources around to provide for the influx of animal victims statewide. So whether you reside in California or in Maine, fostering or adopting at your local shelter frees an additional space in the overall system, enabling rescuers to take in another refugee. And sponsoring the rehabilitation of an injured bird frees that group up to assist with or take in another -- either locally or from a sister group in need. The animal shelters can only take in those for which they have the space and resources. They rely on our kindness to be able to give the gift of life to yet another animal in need. We are all links in the chain.
Dr. Pia Salk