D-M takes care of its wildlife

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Cheyenne Morigeau
  • 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Spring brings with it a surge of young, wild animals that are in the process of acclimating to a new environment, but the season is also a critical time when animals are most susceptible to orphanage or injury. 

The Tucson Wildlife Center, in Tucson, Ariz., offers 24/7 emergency rooms with volunteer veterinarians and rehabilitation experts to care for injured and orphaned wild animals, in Tucson and on D-M.

"Our mission is to rescue and release wildlife throughout southern Arizona," said Dan Moxley, TWC acting director.

For the past several years, D-M has been taking injured wildlife to the TWC for rehabilitation and relocation.

Last year a dehydrated red-tailed hawk was found at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group.

The hawk was taken to the TWC by Kevin Wakefield, 355th Civil Engineering Squadron base natural and cultural resource manager as well as members from the entomology flight.

"Birds get dehydrated pretty quickly and it prevents them from being able to fly," Wakefield said. "Once (the red-tailed hawk) was nursed back to health, we brought him back to base and released him out at the AMARG."

Anyone on base that comes across an injured or orphaned animal is urged to call CE customer service.

"We tell people who find injured animals to leave them alone and call CE," Wakefield said. "In turn they will contact me or entomology and we will take the animal to the Tucson Wildlife Center."

The entomology flight is qualified to safely recover any animal found on base.

"We have been trained to work with and handle any animal situation," said Staff Sgt. Steven Seibert, 355th CE NCO in charge of pest management. "Someone without training could end up hospitalized or worse depending on the animal."

Not only does D-M send injured or orphaned animals to the TWC for care, but some Desert Lightning Team members also volunteer there.

Airman 1st Class Halee Reynolds, 355th Maintenance Squadron maintenance scheduler and active volunteer, assists the TWC by prepping food and feeding its animals.

Reynolds explained how volunteering at the TWC has been very rewarding.

"I think my most memorable moment was being able to bottle feed the most adorable baby raccoon and play with her afterwards," Reynolds said. "It is such a great feeling to be able to help nurse these animals and release them back into the wild."

The TWC houses many different kinds of wildlife, to include bobcats, great horned owls, and javelinas.

For additional information about the TWC, or if you would like to volunteer, visit their webpage http://www.tucsonwildlife.com/.