NEAR MERLIN, Ore. — Pet and livestock owners have been working this week to do whatever they can to protect their animals for the smoke that’s filling the valleys of our region, including staff at Wildlife Images Rehabilitation Center.
The bears are taking it easy at Wildlife Images, so are the wolves. The ibis is taking the smoke in stride, and the otter is just looking for a handout. Other birds like the osprey and an owl appear to be nervous at the smell of smoke from local fires. So, special goodies are being distributed to help calm them down.
“We are very lucky, none of our animals have really been negatively impacted so far. More than anything that’s been impacted is nerves. They’re a little bit [antsier] than they normally would be, and again, that’s where those special treats come in to try and make them comfortable and a little bit distracted,” said Cory Alvis, the Wildlife Images Education Supervisor.
For most of the wild animals her at Wildlife Images, smoke is a sign that danger may be near, and some of them are just a little bit nervous. So far there doesn’t seem to be any health problems. The biggest danger may be to the workers who are trying to take care of them.
“We’ve got a little bit of a break and a little bit of blue sky right now, but we’re definitely encouraging people to take care of themselves, first and foremost,” said Corey.
So, volunteers and employees at Wildlife Images are wearing face masks to help defer the effects of wildfire smoke. The summer school classes are moved inside when necessary, but the tent is covered with ash. In the meantime the animals are making adjustments.
“Wildfire smoke is probably not terribly uncommon for wildlife, however, they have the instinct to get away, so were trying to make them as comfortable as possible,” said Corey.
For information on tours and donations for Wildlife Images call them at 541-476-0222.