10. January 2015 · Comments Off on Offering Sanctuary To An Injured Adult Deer · Categories: Uncategorized

Offering Sanctuary To An Injured Adult Deer

Injured young buck

I glanced out my kitchen window and saw a Black-tailed deer making its way down the hillside behind my home. This wasn’t unusual—a well-used deer trail looped through the neighborhood and I saw deer nearly every day —but there was something about this deer that made me stop and watch him.

He was a young buck, the nubs of his antlers still in velvet. He was moving slowly, and for a deer, rather inelegantly. When he stepped out from behind the sage into the clearing I saw the reason for his erratic gait: His right foreleg appeared to be broken. There was a huge swelling around his ankle, just above his fetlock. The buck stood still, holding the injured leg slightly aloft so his hoof wouldn’t touch the ground. Then he clumsily lowered himself to the ground to rest.

I ran to the phone, picked up the receiver—and stopped, receiver in hand. Who exactly was I going to call? While Native Animal Rescue takes in injured or orphaned fawns every year, there are no services available to help wounded adult deer.

Unlike a fawn, a fully grown wild deer cannot be confined or handled. With three good legs, the buck would still be mobile enough to flee from any human who approached him, causing him more stress and aggravating his injury. Even if someone could come along and tranquilize him and treat the injury, what would happen when he awoke? The trauma of capture and confinement would be profound. And even with a broken leg, he was still quite capable of hurting a person who came near him.

There was nothing I could do. Except for one thing: If the buck’s injury was life-threatening, I could call local law enforcement. A merciful bullet would end his life before he suffered too much longer.

I put the phone down. I picked up my binoculars and studied the buck through the window. He was chewing his cud, his great dished ears gyrating to pick up every sound and vibration around him. The swelling around his ankle looked painful, yet he was still capable of walking and foraging for food. I knew that deer often healed from dreadful injuries on their own. They can get by fine on three legs, often limping about for years.

On the other hand, having the injury so low on his leg was bad: each time he knocked the hoof against the ground, it would prolong the healing process. If he caught his hoof on a root or rock, he could damage himself further. The fracture could become infected and he could die a slow, painful death. That was my fear.

The choice was mine: I could make the phone call, or I could let nature take its course.

I agonized over the decision. I didn’t want this responsibility, but there was no way to escape it: the buck had chosen my yard as his refuge; his life was in my hands. But in the end, I could not make the call. What I could do was make my backyard into a sanctuary, where the buck could rest and heal in peace. Normally I would not offer food to a wild animal, but I tossed some apples onto the hillside to supplement his browse. I filled the birdbath full of fresh water. I made sure no one let our dog out into the backyard and we didn’t go out there ourselves.

The buck came back the next day, and the next. He would limp down the hillside in the afternoons and bed down in the thick leaf litter near the oak. I observed him closely through my binoculars, looking for signs of infection. While his leg didn’t seem to be getting better, it didn’t seem to be getting worse.

We humans often behave as though we have magical powers; we believe we can fix everything that’s broken, find solutions to every problem. But our powers are an illusion, especially where nature is concerned. There is so much that is beyond us, so much we cannot do, no matter how much we may want to help. Acknowledging our limitations may be difficult, but it also invites us to focus on what we can do for the wild creatures around us. Our human world is full of dangers for urban wildlife: vehicles, dogs, fences, pesticides, and other chemicals. By identifying the hazards, we can mitigate them, and prevent many common wildlife injuries in the first place.

Fencing: Though it often seems that deer can sail effortlessly over impossible heights, deer do get caught on fences and gates. Their slender legs are fragile. A former neighbor of mine removed sections of his fence after watching a young fawn try to follow its mother over a 6-foot fence and catch its leg in the wire. Examine your fences and gates carefully. How wide is the space between the slats? Deer—and other animals—will often try to squeeze through the bars of an iron or wire fence and get wedged halfway through. Are your fence posts pointed on top? Every year, deer are impaled upon the ornamental pointed tips of wrought iron fences.

Vehicle collisions: Millions of deer are hit and killed by vehicles in the U.S. Simply by driving more slowly and paying close attention to the road we can greatly reduce our chances of colliding with a deer or other animal. Native Animal Rescue has some excellent suggestions for lessening your chances of hitting a deer when you’re driving in deer country.

Debris and decorations: I once saw a buck with a short length of PVC pipe caught on his leg, almost like a handcuff. He had stepped on it and his hoof had gone right through it—now it was stuck to his body forever. Deer and many other animals become entangled in discarded fragments of wire or plastic. The holes in chicken wire are the perfect diameter to trap a fawn’s tiny hoof. When deer rub their antlers on trees, they can become ensnared in strings of lights, plant netting, or clotheslines. Animals step on shards of glass. They get their heads and hooves and paws stuck inside glass jars and bottles and other food packaging. Make sure your property is wildlife-safe.

Chemicals: Using chemical controls in the home or garden can have dire consequences for human and animal health. Both wild animals and pets are often accidentally poisoned by ingesting pesticides and rodenticides. Try planting locally native plants that will thrive in your area without chemical fertilizers and insecticides. If you have a rodent problem, encourage raptors to nest on your property; a single family of barn owls can catch upwards of 1,300 rats or gophers a year. Keep antifreeze locked in a cabinet; many animals (and children) find its sweet flavor and aroma irresistible.

One evening I went to the kitchen window, and before I could pick up my binoculars, I was rewarded by the sight of the buck jogging up the hillside, head held high. For the first time since I’d seen him, he was putting some weight on his injured foreleg. The swelling looked greatly reduced. I felt a tremendous surge of relief and a feeling I can only call gratitude. I was grateful for the resilience of wild animals, and for the space and peace of my backyard. I was grateful that I had made the right choice.

Tai Moses is the author of Zooburbia: Meditations On The Wild Animals Among Us (Parallax Press, 2014). She formerly lived in Oakland where this story takes place. She now lives in Santa Cruz.

29. July 2014 · Comments Off on Fledgling Hummingbird Flies Free · Categories: Animal Stories

In early June we were contacted by animal loving vet techs from Mission Pet Hospital. They had found a fledgling hummingbird in the street on a very windy day. There was no sign of the parents, so they got the baby bird to safety and gave us a call.


At this time of year, it is common for fledgling hummingbirds to jump out of the nest in their sink-or-swim efforts to learn to fly. It usually takes up to 5 days for these aspiring flyers to get the hang of it. During this time, the parents follow them around and continue to feed them, and, when possible, protect them from danger. However sometimes something will happen to the parent, or the fledgling will get into a situation where they are truly in danger that not even their parents can help them with. We once got in a fledgling who had been found in the middle of a busy intersection right in front of a freeway entrance. The passerby snatched the bird out of trouble and brought her to us. Another time, a girl watched with horror as a group of skateboarders nearly ran over the fledgling who was on the sidewalk under their boards. In most cases it is possible to move the bird out of danger but still keep them close enough that their parents can continue to care for them while they practice flying. However there are still some cases where it is better to bring them into care at your local wildlife rehabilitation center.


In the case of our little “Hummy”, he needed to be fed a sugar/insect protein nectar every 15 minutes during daylight hours. For the first few days he was hand-fed. Then he graduated to using a feeder. Within a day or so of this accomplishment, he was able to take short vertical flights. Huzzah!! However, normally the parent birds would be there to continue feeding the triumphant fledgling, and they would even guide the youngster around to show him how to feed himself. Now that “Hummy” could fly, we could not just let him go. He needed to be taught how to feed himself first.


“Hummy” graduated to a flight case that was enriched with $75 worth of Sloat Garden Center’s best hummingbird attracting plants, as well as a hummingbird feeder to supplement the natural nectar. After a few weeks in the outside enclosure, with frequent visits from the neighboring wild hummingbirds, “Hummy” was successfully catching flies, gnats, and other small insects, pollinating the many flowers in his enclosure, and even singing to the wild hummingbirds around him. He was ready to be free.


His release was one of those “don’t blink” types. He flew back and forth inside the enclosure a couple of times before breaching the open door and going straight up as high as he could go, to disappear into the sun-filled open sky. But that was not the last we saw of him. He had made friends here amongst the local hummingbirds and returned to the garden to fly with them and to taste the wild growing plants with their trumpet flowers waiting to be pollinated. We see “Hummy” now and then, sitting on a branch singing his heart out. We don’t often enjoy the ability to release on-site. It has been a true reminder of what our work is all about – getting these amazing co-habitators of our planet back out on their own so they can enjoy the wild life they were born to have.


Here are some photos of “Hummy” taken by Tara Whitefield:

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28. June 2014 · Comments Off on Why haven’t we updated our website? · Categories: The Rescue Life

It has been over a year since we have updated our website. This is not because we have disappeared, or stopped doing our work. Actually, it is BECAUSE we have not disappeared or stopped doing our work.


Yggdrasil Urban Wildlife Rescue is still a 100% volunteer-run and donation-funded grassroots organization. Since losing our facility back in 2011, our volunteer staff has shrunk but the need to provide wildlife rehabilitation has increased. Thus we have been forced to prioritize how we spend our time. Unfortunately, updating the website is a lesser priority than triaging wildlife in trouble. We apologize for this reality, and thank you for your patience and support of our work.


Despite not updating the website, we have continued to take photos of our wildlife patients. Here are a few photos of last year’s and this year’s orphaned wildlife:


Copyright YUWR 2014


Copyright YUWR 2014


Injured baby squirrel taking a therapeutic hot water soak. Copyright YUWR 2014


Hummingbird nest replaced in a tree after being cut down by tree trimmers. Reunited with mother. Copyright YUWR 2014


orphaned Red Fox Kit Copyright YUWR 2014


Copyright YUWR 2014

copyright MARISSA ROCKE http://www.marissarocke.com/R-E-S-C-U-E-D

copyright Marissa Rocke http://www.marissarocke.com

Greener Pastures-25_o

copyright Marissa Rocke http://www.marissarocke.com


copyright Marissa Rocke http://www.marissarocke.com


copyright Marissa Rocke http://www.marissarocke.com


copyright Marissa Rocke http://www.marissarocke.com

copyright Marissa Rocke http://www.marissarocke.com

copyright Marissa Rocke http://www.marissarocke.com

copyright Marissa Rocke http://www.marissarocke.com

copyright Marissa Rocke http://www.marissarocke.com

Squirrels-24_o Squirrels-39_o

copyright Marissa Rocke http://www.marissarocke.com

copyright Marissa Rocke http://www.marissarocke.com

08. April 2013 · Comments Off on Here’s to a Joyous Spring! · Categories: Uncategorized

It’s APRIL 2013 already!

This year we started receiving newborn baby squirrels, with umbilici attached starting February 10th. In addition, we have received numerous orphaned opossum of various ages. Mid-April marks the beginning of the baby raccoon and skunklet season and May is the month for fawns. We expect to be quite busy around here for some time.

On the education front, we have been working with several local schools, teaching youngsters compassion through companion animals and also teaching about the importance of wildlife and how to protect it.

We look forward to 2013 and all it’s surprises to come.

Here are some photos of our most recent orphans in care:

photo - Copy photo (8) photo (19) photo (11)


As of Spring 2013, we are currently looking for volunteers for:

  • FOSTERCARE: we will train you and provide some supplies for this very rewarding work. Please give me a call at 510-421-9897 or email us to discuss this if you are interested.
  • TRANSPORT: We need help transporting orphaned wildlife from the East Bay to San Francisco. Do you COMMUTE? If you can help with this badly needed help, please call me at 510-421-9897 or email us.
  • CONSTRUCTION WORK VOLUNTEERS: We are currently engaging in construction of a new office and badly need help. Do you have COMMUNITY SERVICE HOURS you need to complete? Please consider helping us! 510-421-9897 or email us.
  • DESIGN YOUR OWN INTERNSHIP: Although we lost our facility back in 2011, we still offer a flexible internship program but it requires discipline and thinking outside the box. If you are interested in working with us for your internship, consider participating in our “Design-Your-Own-Internship” program. You would commit to helping us with animal care and any ofthe above jobs plus anything else you can think of that would help. For example, weekly pickups of produce from your local produce market, weekly collection of fresh branches for cage stimulus, working on our facebook page, grantwriting, fostercare, etc. If you are interested, please contact us at 510-421-9897 or email us.
  • GRANT-WRITING: We are always looking for people to help with grant-Writing. If you are interested, please contact me at 510-421-9897 or email me with your proposals. Thank you.


24. December 2012 · Comments Off on Please Remember your Local Wildlife Center this Holiday Season · Categories: Uncategorized

Please help Wildlife this Holiday Season

Our organization is 100% volunteer-run and donation-funded. We are a grassroots 501(c)3 Non profit and all donations are Tax Deductible. Please remember us this holiday season. Making a donation to help wildlife is a wonderful gift.
Make a Donation
Want to Volunteer?
Need to do Community Service Hours? 

Fostercare:   We are ready to train more FosterCare Volunteers to care for Squirrels, Opossum, Raccoons, and other wildlife orphans. Please call us at 510-421-9897 or email info@yuwr.org if you would like to volunteer!

Transportation:   We need drivers willing to drive orphaned babies from the East Bay to San Francisco, and vice versa. All animals are safely enclosed in boxes or crates and pose no danger or mess.  Transportation is one of the most valuable ways you could help us. Please call us at 510-421-9897 or email info@yuwr.org if you would like to volunteer!

Not interested in fostering or transporting? Have other ideas? Call us! WE NEED SELF-MOTIVATED THINKERS

Internship: Design Your OWN Internship! Call us at 510-421-9897 to get started.


24. December 2012 · Comments Off on 2012 in a Nutshell · Categories: Uncategorized
Giving Wildlife a Second Chance
   As the Winter chill finally convinces the Bay Area that it is the end of December, and the flow of wildlife orphans needing help has come to the annual end, I can look back on 2012 and confidently say we did well.2012 allowed us to developed a strong foster-team and we were able to help hundreds of wildlife orphans, from infant squirrels injured during Spring tree-cuttings, to orphan fawns found wandering the roads at night.  This year our education programs have blossomed in ways that are so wonderful I wish I could make copies of myself so I could attend all of our lectures and presentations! We even saw some of our long-time volunteers go off on adventures this year; to Veterinary School so they may come back to the front lines as Doctors, to Africa to study Lions, and to create new nonprofits to make amazing strides in learning about River Otter Ecology. 2012 is a year I am very proud of and I want to share some of our best moment from it with you.

2012 Year In Pictures


A month of cleaning and preparing for Spring’s orphans. We built new enclosures, new nestboxes, planterboxes, and trained new volunteers so we would be ready when Spring’s patients started trickling in.

We built a new larger enclosure for our non-releaseable education squirrel Wonka.
He was very grateful.


February found us at Alameda’s Crab Cove Visitor Center where we gave a fun lecture to little ones about the wonders of Raccoons.


March brought in a slow stream of orphaned babies needing help. March also surprised us with a nomination on Huffington Post as one of the “Top Nonprofits in the San Francisco Bay Area.”



April brought a flood of orphaned fawns, raccoons and more squirrels!


Fawns and other orphans continued to come in, but we found time for our first OAK (Outdoor Adventures for Kids)  nature walk! We met in Golden Gate Park to learn all about San Francisco’s Coyote population, as well as other local wildlife.

Foster Volunteer Sutton Trout feeds “Felix”. Felix was found on the side of the road next to the body of his mother. He was mistaken for a teddy bear by a passing driver who swerved around him and was shocked when he moved. When she stopped the car and saw his mother dead, she knew he needed help to survive so she contacted us.
We have a sizable herd of orphan fawns in fostercare.


June launched our Wild Oakland Monthly Nature Walk and Talk. http://wildoakland.org/


July brought in more orphaned wildlife needing a helping hand.


August was my month to present a Wild Oakland lecture. I did a Squirrel Walk and Talk around Lake Merritt. It was very fun to be surrounded by so many who loved and were interested in Squirrels!

This is a Squirrel Nest, called a Drey.


Meanwhile, our wildlife orphans in care are growing. Some are ready to go into outside enclosures to prepare for their eminent release back into the wild.


October brought us more orphans in need but also saw many of our orphans graduate into life back in the wild to live the life they were intended to.


In normal years, November is a month of releases and cleaning up. This year was different. We were receiving eyes-closed babies in November!

November also marked the month when Felix, Fiona, and the other herd members were released back into the wild. They are out there now, enjoying the freedom of their birthright. Safe Travels, friends.


December was uncommonly warm and sunny. We released the late summer squirrels and even had a surprise update on Felix, one of our fawns from the Spring!

Felix was spotted crossing a small country road. He lifted his head  and paused when his name was called, then wandered off into the wilderness, as it should be.
I am very proud of all of our volunteers who were on the Front Line helping wildlife animals in need, and of all the people who stopped their lives because they found an animal in distress and wanted to help.“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”. Mahatma Gandhi

All of you give me hope that my son will inherit a world full of compassion and caring. Thank you, and Happy New Year to you all.

-Lila Travis
Yggdrasil Urban Wildlife Rescue

In Memoriam

We are very saddened to announce that this year we lost our Co-Founder Richard Travis. Richard stepped down from our board of directors last year due to health reasons. He leaves behind 2 grown sons and 1 young son, and a lifetime of working hard for animal welfare, wildlife, and environmentalism. His quick mind, and ice-breaking humor will be missed , as will his amazing abilities as an artist and storyteller. We thank him for devoting his life to making the world a better, safer, more cooperative place for all creatures, humans included.

Please help Wildlife this Holiday Season

Our organization is 100% volunteer-run and donation-funded. We are a grassroots 501(c)3 Non profit and all donations are Tax Deductible. Please remember us this holiday season. Making a donation to help wildlife is a wonderful gift.
Make a Donation
Want to Volunteer?
Need to do Community Service Hours?Fostercare:   We are ready to train more FosterCare Volunteers to care for Squirrels, Opossum, Raccoons, and other wildlife orphans. Please call us at 510-421-9897 or email info@yuwr.org if you would like to volunteer!

Transportation:   We need drivers willing to drive orphaned babies from the East Bay to San Francisco, and vice versa. All animals are safely enclosed in boxes or crates and pose no danger or mess.  Transportation is one of the most valuable ways you could help us. Please call us at 510-421-9897 or email info@yuwr.org if you would like to volunteer!

Not interested in fostering or transporting? Have other ideas? Call us! WE NEED SELF-MOTIVATED THINKERS

Internship: Design Your OWN Internship! Call us at 510-421-9897 to get started.

Thank you for reading our Newsletter!

Visit our Website
Visit us on Facebook
Forward to Friend
Read Our History
Watch Our Videos!
26. November 2012 · Comments Off on Posting Comments on our Website · Categories: Uncategorized

It has recently come to my attention that people are regularly posting comments to our website with animal emergencies and questions. This is distressing because we are not notified when a comment is left, so all these wildlife emergencies have gone unattended because we did not know they existed.

We have attempted to disable the comments but we cannot apply it retroactively.

If you have a wildlife question or emergency, please visit our Wildlife Emergency or Problems with Wildlife page, or call our emergency hotline at 510-421-9897. Please DO NOT leave a comment here. You can also email us IF IT IS NOT AN EMERGENCY at info@yuwr.org

Thanks for your understanding. Together we can help wildlife, teach, and solve your problem.

21. June 2012 · Comments Off on Wild Oakland’s First Walk! · Categories: Uncategorized

Saturday, June 16th was our first walk, and it went swimmingly! Here’s a seriously (dare I say tragically) truncated version of what we talked about, for all of you who were unable to attend.

The topic of the day was “a general social and natural history of Lake Merritt”. We met at the Pergola (the name for the columns between Grand Ave and Lakeshore), where Norah and I started the walk with a re-visioning of the area as it would have been 200 years ago. Lake Merritt would have been a tidal slough, rich with marsh vegetation like tule, saltgrass, and pickleweed. Herds of elk and pronghorn as well as grizzlies would have been lumbering through, and flocks of birds would have darkened the sky. Such is the scene Louis Peralta would have seen when he was 17 years old, surveying the area from the point that’s now Mills College.

Meeting at the pergola, photo by Damon Tighe

We walked along the edge of the water and learned about the trees, plants, and animals that now populate the area, and Norah taught us about the City Beautiful and Sanitation Awakening movements that carried us into the 20th century.

Widgeon grass photo by Damon Tighe

Aquatic harvester removing widgeon grass, photo by Damon Tighe

Reaching the Bird Islands and feeding area, we were greeted by the ubiquitous Canadian geese and pigeons. A “gulp” (the word for a group of cormorants) was busy nesting in the island trees while we talked about them, the night herons, and the snowy egrets that make their home at the lake.

Canadian Goose gosling photo by Damon Tighe

Continuing on to the boathouse, where the Lake Merritt Institute has its office, Norah talked about the impact WWII, unions, the Great Migration, and “white flight” had on Oakland’s economy. I talked about the Glen Echo watershed and the thousands of pounds of trash that the Lake Merritt Institute scoops out of the lake every year. Seven square miles of storm drain runoff from 50,000 Oakland residents- and all that detritus runs into the lake. No wonder trash cleanup is a full-time endeavor… thank you, Lake Merritt Institute, for all of your constant work!

After we had wandered halfway through the beautiful gardens at Lake Merritt, we stopped under the shade of a Giant Sequoia, where this gem was taken:

Fox squirrel (Sciurus niger) photo taken by Eddie Dunbar

It wasn’t just us getting tired from the heat!

Norah taught us about some of the history and activities of the Black Panthers, and lots of walk attendees added their own stories and knowledge about the activism of this legendary group.

Our last stop was under one of the Deodar cedars by the lawn bowling fields. Norah and I wrapped up the talk by recapping some of the events that the lake has been a major player or backdrop in, and that to truly understand the history and ecology of an area, nothing should be considered too small or mundane to garner one’s attention.

Thanks to everyone who attended our inaugural walk!

Group photo by Damon Tighe

A special thank you to Vanessa from Vee Horticulture for teaching me about the plants around the lake before this first walk, and Dr. Richard Bailey from the Lake Merritt Institute for giving Norah and I access to all the amazing information in the Lake Merritt Institute office and answering lots of our questions. And a big thank you to Norah Cook from Wild Oakland for being a co-presenter and really knowing her stuff about Oakland’s history!

See you next month!

– Constance

21. June 2012 · Comments Off on Fawn Class of 2012 · Categories: Uncategorized

The fawns have been growing up too! They are almost ready to go to Bambi BootCamp, the next level of their rehabilitation back into the wild.

As infants, they need special care for the first few months of their lives. They need to be bottle-fed and hand-cared-for. Once they graduate from nursing and are totally eating solid food, they are ready to move to Bambi BootCamp where they will have an entire ACRE of wilderness to safely explore, in the middle of the wilds. They will have little contact with humans and be able to watch wild adult deer wandering around, doing wild things. There, they will stay for a few more months, before the gates are opened to them and they are able to live free and wild.

Please wish the Fawn Class of 2012 good luck as they move closer to this first transition.

1 day old Fawn orphan

3 day old Fawn orphan

2 day old fawn being fed by foster-volunteer Sutton Trout

Babies at 1 week of age

Getting bigger! 3 weeks old.

Now that they eat forage, we are helping prune all the City trees!

Special Thanks to Carl and the crew at Whole Foods Noe Valley for their greens donation – and their wonderful sign!

Special Thanks also to Alameda Natural Grocery for keeping everyone well fed!

…and not just the fawns!    http://www.alamedanaturalgrocery.com

Even with all this Forage they are still only 2 months old and still need to nurse.

But they are all getting big and ready for Bambi BootCamp very soon.


Thank you to foster volunteer Sutton Trout, transport volunteer Suzanne Stanton, and Stacy Johnson and her family, who are preparing Bambi BootCamp to welcome this Fawn Class of 2012 very soon.

Good work team!


01. June 2012 · Comments Off on Almost Summer…. · Categories: Uncategorized

As Spring progresses, our babies grow bigger and their needs for care change.

A baby squirrel who once needed to be bottle fed and snuggled into a nursery box, will grow into a rambunctious teenager who needs to climb and jump and learn how to not fall in a safe place before she can be released back into the wild. With this in mind, we built a new enclosure for the little baby Eastern Gray tree squirrels we raised from eyes-closed infants earlier this year.

Thanks to Whole Foods for produce donations and Berkeley Bowl West for help finding nuts so these kids could transition to solids and off formula.

These beautiful young squirrels are the same ones we received, eyes closed, back in March! My how they grow…