Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Name: Rebekah Perry
Class Year: Junior- Class of 2019
Hometown: Huntington, West Virginia
Internship: Wildlife Rehabilitation Intern
Location: New Mexico Wildlife Center, Espanola, New Mexico
I cannot believe that I am saying this already, but I have officially completed 5/10 weeks of my internship here at the New Mexico Wildlife Center. As I sit here about to start my 6th week, I am reflecting upon all of the exciting cases and progress jumps that have been happening alongside all of our hard work. We are currently at almost full capacity in the ICU, and that is bittersweet, because it means that we are getting to help a large number and wide diversity of animals, but it also means that a lot of animals are in need of help. We have been getting in a plethora of orphaned baby birds in need of hourly feedings and constant watchful care, injured and emaciated birds of prey that are in need of essential nutrients that their bodies have been deprived of for one reason or another, and even two new infant bobcats, whose mother was shot and killed, have come in with adorable fierceness and huge appetites. Older patients, who arrived at the beginning of my time here, are now making leaps towards their release as the pronghorn is gaining the strength to run around in an outdoor enclosure and is self-feeding, two red tailed hawks, two great horned owls, four barn owls and an American kestrel are now participating in mouse school and are successfully learning how to live hunt their own prey, juvenile rock squirrels and desert cottontails are moving to outdoor enclosures and many songbirds are being released back to their homes, where they were found as abandoned hatchlings, to finally fly free.
I am still gaining new skills, strengthening the old ones, and have many more to learn in the next five weeks. Yesterday, I had to learn how to butcher an entire mule deer that was road kill that Game and Fish brought to us to feed out to our baby bobcats! Getting road kill from Game and Fish is a super cost efficient way to feed our carnivores, but man is it a dirty job. I am also becoming much better at handling the raptors that have minds of their own, as I gain practice giving physical exams to sassy barn owls, force feeding a cooper's hawk who cannot see well enough to self-feed yet, and tube-feeding an emaciated western screech owl and red tailed hawk. I am learning how to complete a thorough patient intake, palpating for fractures, looking for wounds or signs of disease, positioning a patient for x-rays, drawing blood for testing, and administering appropriate fluids and diet.
I am still loving my time out here and look forward to seeing what the second half will bring!