By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
NOBLE, OK – WildCare Oklahoma, a non-profit dedicated to the rehabilitation of injured and orphaned native Oklahoma wildlife, has announced that Dr. Faye Lorenzsonn has joined the organization as their first ever full-time veterinarian.
Last May, within days of Lorenzsonn’a graduation from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Veterinary Medicine, she and her husband, Zivan, along with their two dogs, Lily and Longjohn, moved to Oklahoma.
“Since joining the WildCare team at one of our busiest times of the year, Dr. Lorenzsonn has been running to do surgeries, suture wounds, pin broken wings, remove ticks, and patch turtle shells, as well as getting the clinic organized and trying to find time to unpack,” said Kristy Wicker, Community Liaison for WildCare Oklahoma.
In the short time Dr. Faye has been at WildCare, she has helped a wide variety of animals including hawks, owls, fawns, raccoons, bobcats, ducks, herons, and even toads.
Lorenzsonn says her favorite part of the job is the moment a bird flies again after fixing their broken wing.
“Having a veterinarian here full-time has benefited our staff and interns who often get to assist Dr. Lorenzsonn with various procedures, adding to their training and skill development,” said Wicker. “Dr. Faye has fit right in at WildCare with her quirky sense of humor, often necessary in our profession, and we’re thrilled she’s here.”
Every spring and summer WildCare’s staff more than doubles as they hire seasonal interns to help with the busy baby season.
“Our work family expands for a short time and we now have a great group of interns from around the country including California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Colorado, Missouri, and Oklahoma,” Wicker added. “We’re so happy they’re here and appreciate their dedication to WildCare and Oklahoma’s wildlife.”
Most interns come to WildCare while pursuing or finishing college degrees in Environmental Sciences, Wildlife and Natural Resources Management, or Veterinary Medicine.
WildCare co-founder and executive director, Rondi Large said, “My heartfelt appreciation goes out to all the donors, staff, interns and many volunteers that enable WildCare to fulfill our mission. 4,800 animals, great and small, have already arrived this year.
“Each one needed our care and more are sure to come. WildCare’s greatest needs remain the same each year – food, labor, and medical supplies. Tax deductible donations, great or small, will fund the lifesaving work that WildCare does every day,”
“Please consider making a donation at this time when our nurseries are still full,” Large added.
“So far, WildCare has never had to turn down an animal in need because we didn’t have the funds,” Large stated.
“Our donors have always proven that they are behind us, supporting every case we see.” Large continued. “I dread the day that I may have to decide that we can’t try to help an animal due to funding. It is not the foundation WildCare has been built on.”
According to Large, WildCare has seen some very troubling cases this year, such as frightening, serious injuries, deliberate neglect, and uninformed compassionate people miss handling wildlife.
“With every case I have the staff behind me, ready to make a positive difference for that unique life in front of us,” Large said. “Our staff works very long hours into the night, day after day, because that’s what it takes if that patient will have a chance of release.
“And, the staff are there to support the species that often gets over looked here – the humans, our WildCare family,” Large said. “I am so grateful to them for wanting to walk this journey with me and the wildlife of Oklahoma.”
This year WildCare invited 13 interns from around the country to join their team to save Oklahoma’s wildlife.
During initial interviews, Large notes that WildCare interns often refer to the experience as their “dream job.”
“As their time at WildCare comes to an end they remember how small and fragile that infant was when it first arrived and now, because of them, they are releasing a healthy sub-adult back where it belongs.”
Large says that she often hears the same response from interns and volunteers years later after their time at WildCare, who say, “Being at WildCare was the hardest job I have ever had and yet the most rewarding.”
WildCare normally takes in and raises a few bobcat cubs each year but currently they have eight.
“They may look like domestic cats but they’re not,” Wicker said. “One cub had been kept for a few weeks with an injured and infected eye. Dr. Faye is working very hard to restore vision.
“At WildCare, we feed bobcats whole body rats that are humanely euthanized to ensure proper nutrition,” said Wicker. “Each cub will eat up to 4 rats per day. Each rat costs $4 each. Four rats a day times 8 bobcat cubs at $4 per rat equals $128 per day or $3,840 per month.”
The eight cubs will stay at WildCare until April of 2018.
“Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to feed these young cubs,” Wicker asked.
After over thirty years of caring for Oklahoma’s wildlife, WildCare staff members are still amazed at the strong will animals have to continue to raise their babies
“The myths of wild animals abandoning their young if touched by human hands have been proven false as we learn more about returning wild babies to their parents,” Wicker said. “Most wild parents want their babies back and are more than happy to care for them after being touched or placed in artificial nests.
“We spend hours each week walking people through methods of using baskets, boxes, and crates to allow wild animal parents to continue caring for their young,” Wicker said. “We also have resources on our website that help people determine if an animal is in need of rescuing.”
WildCare gets support from many individuals and groups that are dedicated to helping animals, such as experience climber, Tony Mayse, tree companies and local fire departments who help to reunite young owls, hawks, and Mississippi Kites with their parents.
This year WildCare tried something new with the assistance of the now famous local Click family who created the OKC Great Horned Owl webcam.
“One little great horned owlet’s tree was completely cut down during a construction project and there were no trees nearby to try to reunite,” Wicker said. “The Click family has supported WildCare for several years and we approached them about the possibility of putting our orphaned owlet in with the two slightly older owlets being raised by ‘Mr. Tiger and Altera Tiger’.
“With thousands of people from all over the world watching the owl cam, we were a bit nervous,” said Wicker.
Wicker worried that the owlet might be rejected or that by disturbing the nest the other two babies might be put at risk.
“We felt that with the owl cam we would hopefully be able to see if there were any problems. The Click family was wonderfully supportive of the effort and the placement was a huge success. Our little guy fit seamlessly into the family and successfully fledged right on schedule.”
We can always tell what is going on in nature by the animals and calls we receive,” said Wicker. “It helps us stay in touch with the natural processes of what animals are doing in the wild, be it looking for love, mating, nesting, or having babies.”
To contact WildCare Oklahoma call 405-872-9338. To learn more or make a tax-deductible donation. visit www.wildcareoklahoma.org. Checks can be sent to WildCare Oklahoma, 7601 84th St, Noble, OK 73068.