Wildlife Rehabilitator – A Special Calling

You’re sitting at home at night with the family watching television when you hear something in the attic, something bumping and crawling around. This happened to a Ruston family recently when they discovered that a screen-covered
vent to the attic had been compromised.

Checking to see what was making the noise, they were shocked at what they found. A mama raccoon had decided the attic was a good place to give birth to babies. Three tiny baby raccoons were discovered, removed and placed in a cat carrier.

A wildlife rehabilitator, Stacy Eagles, was contacted, she came and picked up the babies to do with them what rehabilitators do; nurture and raise them until they’re ready to be returned to the wild. This piqued my interest to the point I attempted without success to contact Eagles so after an internet search, I located Leslie Greene, a wildlife rehabilitator from Farmerville to discuss just exactly what and why and how a wildlife rehabilitator goes about doing what they do.

“By definition,” Greene began, “our job is to save injured, displaced or orphaned wildlife. Some of the animals I have dealt with include raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, coyotes, foxes and beavers.”

“To qualify to become a wildlife rehabilitator, you have to be licensed by the LA Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and you have to work under someone already licensed for a year. Then you have to have the proper equipment and facilities for animals with which you  will be working, develop a working knowledge of medications and antibiotics needed to care for animals that are injured,” Greene said.

An official with LDWF has to come and inspect your facilities before you are granted a license, which Greene acquired three or four years ago. Her interest in baby critters started when as a youngster, she had a baby raccoon she raised from an orphan.

“I became very interested in this little guy and my interest grew until I decided I wanted to do what I could for other juvenile wild animals,” she said.

Greene added that this time of year, from January through late spring, wild animals are giving birth to offspring and is the busiest time of year for a rehabilitator.

“It’s a 24-7 job especially this time of year as I get calls frequently to help out in a situation involving recently born wildlife that have encountered problems,” she added.

One of the more interesting and heart-warming situations Greene has encountered is on- going at the present time when she had to rescue three baby beavers she currently tends.

“I am having so much fun with the little beavers and find they are quite social animals. They make baby sounds almost like a human baby, are very social and need the emotional touch and bonding I am only too glad to give them,” said Greene.

While some animals can be released back in the wild in shorter times, beavers take quite a bit longer. Red foxes, for instance, can usually be released within six months, gray foxes five months, raccoons nine months, it can take beavers up to two years before it is safe to return them to the wild.

“Beavers live in family units with parents and older siblings and it takes up to two years before they’re ready to leave the den and go looking for their own pond. I don’t mind,” she said, “because these little fellows are so much fun.”

What to do if you find a raccoon in your attic or find a baby squirrel that fell out of a nest? Call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. You can find Leslie Greene on Face Book.

FISHING REPORT 

CANEY LAKE – Bass fishing has been fair to good with the drop-shot rig working best with average sized fish reported. Crappie are around the deeper tops and hitting jigs and shiners fished 12 feet deep in 15-25 foot water. Bream are on the beds and hitting crickets and worms. No report on catfish. For information contact Bateaux’s on Caney Lake at 259-6649, Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
OUACHITA RIVER – The water is falling and fishing is improving. Bass are best in the river lakes on spinners and soft plastics. Crappie are fair to good fishing jigs and shiners around tops in the river and river lakes. No report on other species. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE D’ARBONNE – Bass fishing has been fair fishing the deeper holes in the channel with drop-shot rigs with some along channel edges on Rogues and plastic frogs. Crappie fishing has been fair on the flats on shiners and jigs fished 10-15 feet deep in 20 foot water. Bream fishing is good on worms and crickets. Catfishing continues to be good off the banks on night crawlers and cold worms. For latest reports, call Anderson’s Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE CLAIBORNE – Bream are on the beds and fishing has been good on crickets and worms. Bass fishing has been best for medium sized fish around the docks and edge of grass on topwaters, soft plastics and spinners. Crappie fishing is fair around the tops and better below the spillway on shiners or jigs. Catfishing is good on night crawlers or cold worms while some stripers are being caught at night around lighted piers. For latest information, call Kel’s Cove at
927-2264.
BUSSEY BRAKE – Bass fishing has been fair fishing spinners or jigs around the banks and edge of levee. Bream fishing has been good on crickets and worms on beds around the willows. No report on crappie or catfish. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
BLACK BAYOU – Bass fishing has been good on jigs and spinners around the grass. Crappie are fair and scattered. Bream fishing is good on crickets and worms. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – Bass to 5-7 pounds have been caught. Catfish and bream are good. Crappie are slow. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318/878-0101.
LAKE ST. JOHN – Crappie are fair on spider rigs. Bass are best early on topwaters. Bream are on the beds and catfishing has been good on yo-yos baited with shiners. For information, call Ken Mahoney at 318-201-3821.
LAKE YUCATAN – The water level is mostly stable with crappie, barfish and catfish biting quite well. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.


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