PAWS Magazine

Issue 55, Summer 2003

PAWS Annual General Meeting

Steve Weaver, Susan Woerdehoff and Jennifer Hillman deep in conversation during the Annual General Meeting held at PAWS the evening of June 24th. Attendees celebrated the highlights of 2002, watched the newly released video documentary on the Wildlife Center, and toured the shelter and wildlife center.

Danielle Whalen

by Hilary Anne Hager

In December 2000, Danielle Whalen went online to look at animals available for adoption and found the canine love of her life. The picture was so compelling, the dog so adorable, she knew she’d found “the one.” Two years later, Danielle became a volunteer at PAWS where she’s now become a part of that same process for other people looking to adopt a new animal into their homes.

Getting the animals into the shelter is, unfortunately, all too easy—getting them out requires a bit more effort on our part. Online marketing is PAWS’ number one means of reaching potential adopters to help them see the animals we have at the shelter and Cat City. Each and every day, the PAWS volunteer Marketing Team comes to the shelter to take pictures of the animals and post them online. Danielle is a part of this Marketing Team, and loves her work. “I try to take pictures of the animals the way an adopter would, to allow people to see what it could be like.” She spends an average of five hours a week, patiently taking shot after shot, making sure she captures the animal’s spirit and portrays it in its best light. She also connects with PAWS’ media partners and notifies them of our “Pet of the Week.”

In addition to her weekly duties, Danielle created a photo tip sheet that’s used by her teammates and assists with much of our external marketing. Her involvement with this behind the scenes work is critical to our success. Thank you Danielle.

Releasing wild animals

by Kevin Mack

The goal of wildlife rehabilitation is to successfully return healthy animals to the wild. Releasing rehabilitated wildlife involves more than simply finding suitable habitat, opening the transport carrier, and letting the animal go. Although it is of utmost importance to find a release site that will provide food, water, and shelter appropriate to the animal’s natural history, many other factors must be considered as well.

Each animal’s point of origin plays a large role in determining where that animal will be released. There are often many distinct populations of a single species that have subtle differences in genetics, disease/parasite susceptibility, and even behavior. For example, the courtship songs and behaviors of some bird species vary by region. If a non-migratory bird is released far from its point of origin, there is the possibility that its song will not be recognized by the population into which it is introduced. The bird may survive, but it will not be able to attract a mate, and thus will not be a fully functioning part of the population. By releasing animals as closely as possible to their points of origin, problems with disease/parasite/DNA introduction and the possibility of behavioral isolation can be more easily avoided.

Other considerations for release may include seasonal variations in movement and behavior of the species involved and the age and sex of the individual animal. For some individual animals, sorting out all of the relevant factors surrounding their release can be quite complicated. It is necessary, however, to take all of these factors into account to help plan a release that will give the animal the best possible chance for long-term survival.



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