MEDIA ALERT: Lindsay Wildlife Experience Treating More Animals With Gunshot Wounds
SF Premiere Pioneering Wildlife Rehabilitation Center Sees Major Increase In Gunshot Victims
WALNUT CREEK, Calif., Dec. 6, 2018—Lindsay Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital has treated 29 animals so far this year, that suffered gunshot wounds. There have been seven in the month of November alone.
Lindsay Wildlife officials do not know the reason for the increase in animals shot. The increase started in 2017 with 17 animals, in previous years Lindsay treated between 10-15 animals a year. All the patients are different species and from different places including a turkey vulture from Bethel Island, a bobcat from Livermore and a golden eagle found in Pittsburg, Calif. All of these animals did not live.
People shoot at animals for all different reasons; often people may consider wildlife a “nuisance” or target practice. The problem compounds when shot animals die in the wild then are eaten by healthy animals and those predators then get lead pointing from the bullets, leading to something known as secondary toxicity.
“Even if done legally, the shooting of wildlife can cause a lot of suffering,” said Lindsay Veterinarian Dr. Allison Daugherty. “If an animal survives the initial trauma, it can take a long time for them to die or become debilitated enough to be captured and brought to a facility like Lindsay Wildlife. Often by then they are too far gone for us to save.”
And the treatment of these animals is not cheap. Many of these animals require surgery, which is intensive and time consuming. Lindsay averages a cost of $100 per patient brought into Lindsay, but that varies wildly depending on the patient, especially those who have been shot. Lindsay’s Hospital Hotline volunteers spend hours on the phone teaching the public who call for advice how to live in harmony with wildlife. For those complaining about wildlife Lindsay gives tips on how to make backyards inhospitable for wildlife such as not leaving pet food outside, cleaning up leaves and fallen fruit. Lindsay volunteers and staff also encourage people to report if they have witnessed a wild animal being shot. They can do that anonymously through California Fish and Wildlife’s confidential hotline at 888-334-CALTIP. This toll-free hotline is staffed 24 hours a day and is a confidential, secret witness program that encourages the public to provide Fish and Wildlife with factual information leading to the arrest of poachers and polluters. Lindsay stresses in our education programs that animals should never be “targets” and encourage all to practice proper gun safety. “There’s a long history of people vs. wildlife because we’re living in the same territories and habitats. We need to find a balance so that we can live as people and wildlife. Educating the public on ways to do this is a big part of what we do,” said Dr. Daugherty.
About Lindsay Wildlife Experience: Lindsay connects people with wildlife to inspire responsibility and respect for the world we share. It is a unique natural history and environmental education center where wild live animals are just inches away from visitors. It serves more than 100,000 children and adults and treats more than 5,600 animals each year at the first wildlife rehabilitation hospital established in the U.S.