PAWS Magazine


Issue 46, Summer 2000


Your property might make a great home for wildlife

One of many challenges faced by the PAWS Wildlife Department is locating suitable release sites for the hundreds of animals that are successfully rehabilitated at the two PAWS Wildlife Centers each year. "Every species that we work with has its own distinctive habitat needs," said PAWS Wildlife Department Naturalist Kevin Mack, "and it can be quite challenging at times to find accessible land where those needs may be met."

PAWS has a number of areas it has traditionally used to release the common "urban" species, which make up the majority of the caseload. Although these areas are appropriate for a wide variety of species, they cannot support an infinite number of animals. Mack points out that potential release sites must be carefully analyzed to determine appropriateness. "On the day of release our wild patients face a number of challenges," said Mack. "In surroundings that are often unfamiliar the animals must find shelter, water and food, and be able to defend themselves against predators."

Mack is currently trying to expand the pool of release sites to ensure that PAWS is giving rehabilitated animals the resources and space they require to survive after release. To meet this need, PAWS will be working over the next several months to create a database of accessible release sites in Washington State. "If PAWS supporters would like to help with this process, this is a great way that they can get involved," said Mack.

"We are currently seeking private landowners who are interested in allowing PAWS to perform professional, scientific releases of individual rehabilitated wild animals on their property," said Mack. "Whether you have an acre or a thousand acres, you likely have suitable habitat for some of the nearly 200 species that we receive."

Those wishing to allow PAWS to release animals on their property are asked to fill out an application form. The application asks for detailed information about the potential release site including its size, physical attributes, current usage, and location. There is also a "landowner preferences" section where landowners can denote which species they would prefer (or prefer not) to have released on their land as well as any other land use stipulations they may have. These applications are reviewed by Mack, who will schedule a time to visit the property for a first-hand assessment. After this assessment, the information will be entered into the PAWS release site database and may be utilized for future releases.

To fill out an application or additional information, please fill out an online application or conact: Kevin Mack, PAWS Wildlife Department Naturalist at 425.787.2500 x854 or via e-mail at

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