South Bay wildlife center details rehabilitation efforts for animals injured during Bay Area storms

Amanda del Castillo Image
Wednesday, January 18, 2023
SB wildlife center details recovery of animals injured during storms
The Bay Area's wildlife is yet another victim of recent atmospheric rivers, Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley is working to rehabilitate some of them.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Tuesday brought clear skies across the Bay Area, but it doesn't mean we're in the clear. Many around the region have witnessed widespread damage even on recent dry days.

However, little thought of is the local wildlife, having their habitats turned upside down the past few weeks.

MORE: Wildlife Disaster Network rescues, rehabilitates animals burned in CA wildfires

A pocket gopher is being cared for at the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley (WCSV) in San Jose, where it's getting the treatment and TLC needed to return to the wild. It's one of a handful of animals under rehabilitation after the recent string of rainstorms.

"After all that rainwater saturated the soil, his burrow collapsed and he was then flooded," WCSV Hospital Manager Ashley Kinney said. "And then came up, and he was found on top of the surface, completely soaking wet and just hypothermic."

Kinney said the center took in an American Kestrel who reportedly fell from the sky, and sustained an eye injury upon impact.

WCSV shared slow motion video, offering a better look at the bird's progress.

A nocturnal Western Screech Owl was also brought in, battered by the bad weather.

RELATED: Here's who to contact if you find wildlife in distress around the Bay Area

"She was found grounded, lethargic, completely waterlogged," Kinney told ABC7 News. "So she was just sitting on the sidewalk, covered in rainwater."

The center also took in an opossum, Kinney said. The injuries mentioned, provided clear examples of the Bay Area's weather impacting wildlife.

Kinney said those animals are expected to make a full recovery and are expected to be released after the next storm.

Residents we spoke with weren't surprised to hear about injuries.

"There was a coyote spotted well off the hills," Dan Sahagun said. "The weather has scared a lot of the wild animals down - looking for shelter."

MORE: Rescued California bear gets new home at Texas sanctuary

Of course, nature surrounds the Wildlife Center. Penitencia Creek runs directly in front of it, bringing up fear of flooding. This forced workers and volunteers to create an evacuation plan, with patients in mind.

Kinney said wildlife centers along the coast are seeing the biggest impacts because of the inclement weather.

"There has been reports of an influx in other areas due to the storms," she said. "But in our general area, we're keeping our fingers crossed that everything remains the way it has been going."

"But we are - if something changes - we are fully prepared for the worst," she added.

Kinney said the center has about 20 animals on-site currently. During the spring and summer, WCSV can have up to 500 animals.

She suggested, if you come across an injured animal, call your local wildlife center immediately for directions. Experts will be able to guide you in what to do and ways to keep both you and the animal safe.

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