This year researchers at U. C. Davis released study results showing that the rehabilitation of brown pelicans exposed to oil spills led to a survival rate of only nine percent two years after release. That is, only eight of the 91 pelicans released after rehab were accounted for two years later. In light of this type of report, most of us have asked, "What is the real impact of wildlife rehabilitation efforts on wildlife?" and "Are we doing any good?"
That's when I reacquainted myself with the other part of our mission: to serve as a forum for issues pertaining to living with wildlife. We, as a volunteer group with a limited income, can only do so much physically for the animals that come through our doors; in some cases, we are forced to limit ourselves to taking animals only from certain cities. However, we can always make a larger contribution to the cause of wildlife whenever we speak with the public, the press, our families and friends and coworkers about the cause of Wildlife Rescue.
Although the long-term result of our rehabilitation efforts is still unknown, we can be very proud of the effect we have every day on the people who come through our door, who call our hotline, read our newsletters and brochures -- and who, because of the information we impart, choose to do the right thing by our local wildlife.
As one rehabber once wrote, "The obvious connection between what I do with individuals and the larger scale lies in educating people, and allowing them to connect emotionally with creatures not very different from themselves. In this way, I hope that we will value and protect what these creatures, and much rarer ones, need in perpetuity.... The task before all of us is to raise worldwide consciousness and conscience about the sacredness of nature, doing whatever is truest to our own nature." Well said.
In other news, it's been a very productive few months since our last issue. We've hired two wonderful people -- Shannon McFarlin, our new Shelter Director, and Tracy Meyer, our new Volunteer Coordinator. Both have jumped right in and taken on the multitude of tasks required to keep this volunteer organization running. We welcome them, their energy and their enthusiasm!
Also, thank you to all who have responded to our annual Spring Appeal, "We Can't Do It Without U" -- at this writing we have grossed over $5670! And keep an eye out for the annual Donation Drawing tickets. This year we're using a new format that will decrease our costs and allow more money to go directly to helping wildlife.
The Permanent Shelter project continues forward under Brad Milliken's able direction. He has been in many meetings with the City of Palo Alto, Animal Services, and Essex and Drake, our fundraising counsel, to pin down the budget, site and floor plan for what we expect to be a great new resource for the animals -- and for the members -- of Wildlife Rescue.