Injured Wild Animal? Project Wildlife to the Rescue

by on January 13, 2022 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Geoff Page

This post is a pitch for a really great organization called Project Wildlife. For those who don’t know about them, here is what they do, based on an actual experience I had Tuesday morning.

My wife and I were walking our dogs at Dog Beach. She noticed a bird at the waterline she called a coot. It’s a black bird, sort of medium size. This one was by itself, we didn’t see any others nearby. My wife remarked that she had seen these birds along the river but had never seen one in the surf at Dog Beach. I had to agree.

Just as we were looking at the bird, a dog went after it in the surf.  The bird flew away about 30 yards and landed and the dog went after it again. These are diving birds and it dove several times trying to evade the dog. Unfortunately, the water was shallow and the bird probably could not get deep enough.  The dog caught the bird.

In 40 years of going to Dog Beach, I have never witnessed such a thing. It was jarring. The dog dropped the bird, then picked it up again. The owner came screaming across the beach but the dog ignored her. He picked up the bird and ran south toward the jetty.

I ran to where the dog stopped momentarily and dropped the bird again. I managed to chase him off and get the bird. It was alive and there were no marks on it that I could see.  I brought it to shore and set it down but it was clear something was wrong. So, we decided to take the bird to Project Wildlife. A friend on the beach gave us a towel to wrap the bird in.

The bird was remarkably alert as we drove.  Its head and neck were out of the towel and it seemed calm in our hands, it made no attempt to escape.

If anyone ever has a problem with any kind of wildlife, you can call or go to their location on Gaines Street across the street from the Humane Society building. They take in wildlife like this coot and they provide what the animal needs.  In this case, they had a vet look at it and it seemed to have a broken wing. If that can be fixed, the bird may be returned to the wild, if not, it will be kept and cared for in partnership with Sea World.

My first experience with Project Wildlife was some years ago. I saw a large pelican at the end of the pier that could not fly and was very sluggish. I called and they sent someone out.  A woman walked all the way to the end of the pier with a blanket. We caught the bird and carried it back to her station wagon. It seemed there was rash of weak young pelicans at that time because of a food chain problem.

If someone has an injured wild animal, it can be taken to Project Wildlife at any time of the day or night. During regular hours, they take the animals and ask you to fill out a short form. There is an opportunity to make a donation on that form. After office hours, they have a room that is accessed from the outside, separate from the offices, open 24/7.

The room contains all different sizes of animal carriers from humming birds to large birds and adult mammals. Each one has a heating pad. The animal is placed inside, the pad turned on, and a towel to cover the front of the carrier is provided. A very cool facility.

Most people are unsure what to do when they come across an injured animal and want to help. A call to Project Wildlife at 619-299-7012 will put a person in touch with the people who do know what to do. They can advise on how to handle the animal and get it over to their facility. Or, they can send someone to pick up the animal. This assistance is invaluable when facing such a situation.

And, for animal lovers, it is reassuring to know that they care for the animals and return many of them back into the wild. They take in orphans too.

Donations help them do the work they do, there are opportunities to donate on their website here.


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