Under the warmth of the summer sun during the featured Second Saturday event on June 10, 2023, the community enjoyed an enlightening wildlife presentation, intriguing attendees of all ages. Sponsored by the Pulaski County Tribe, the event showcased a dedicated wildlife rehabilitationist, Kim Hoover, who shared the remarkable stories of her handicapped animal ambassadors.
With over four decades of experience in rehabilitating wildlife, Hoover's passion for these creatures shone through as she introduced her avian and reptilian companions. Each animal had a unique tale of resilience and survival.
One of the featured birds, Wapi, an Eastern gray Screech owl, endured an astonishing 60-foot fall from a tree cavity in Wabash County as a nestling in 2022. Though his fall left him with head damage and a permanently damaged eye, Wapi found a new home as an educational ambassador. He now captivates audiences with his charm.
Cochise, an American kestrel, faced similar challenges. Found as a nestling in a deplorable condition in a parking lot in 2015, he had underdeveloped wings that never grew past his elbows. Despite his physical deformities, Cochise found his place as an ambassador, soaring into the hearts of those who met him.
Sloan, a Barn owl with a turbulent past, was stolen from her nest in Midland, Texas, in 2013, and raised illegally by the public. Her diet of deer meat led to metabolic bone disease, requiring three surgeries to correct her bow legs. Though her feet remain permanently deformed, Sloan now thrives under the care of Hoover, teaching the public about the importance of compassion and understanding.
Reptilian ambassador Noble, an Eastern box turtle from Noblesville, Indiana, also made an appearance. With a damaged carapace, Noble couldn't retreat securely inside his shell. Since 2013, he has been an educational ambassador, educating the public about the unique challenges faced by turtles in the wild.
Throughout the presentation, Hoover shared her extensive background as a wildlife rehabilitationist and advocate for these incredible creatures. Her journey, which began in 1978, led her to establish the nonprofit organization Hoots to Howls Wildlife Rehab, Inc. in 2000. Through this 501(c)(3) entity, Hoover cares for sick, orphaned, and injured wildlife, providing them with a second chance at life.
During the event, Hoover also emphasized Indiana's strict regulations regarding wildlife possession. It is illegal to possess any wildlife without proper permits, even if the intention is to provide care and release it back into the wild. She encouraged attendees to reach out to licensed wildlife rehabilitators, listed by county and species on the Indiana Department of Natural Resources website if they encounter injured or orphaned wildlife.
As an unpaid volunteer, Hoover and her team at Hoots to Howls rely heavily on donations to fund their wildlife programs. The community's support plays a crucial role in purchasing food, medical supplies, covering veterinary expenses, and providing housing for the numerous animals they care for each year.
Additional Information Provided by Presenter:
Remember that wildlife should not be possessed without proper permits, even if your intention is to release them back into the wild. Instead, transfer them to licensed wildlife rehabilitators within 24 hours for their best chance of survival.
If you find sick, orphaned, or injured wildlife, keep them safe and quiet in a box with a clean cloth or paper towel. Do not offer food or water. Please keep them away from your pets or children.
Chickens have become popular, but ensure you secure your chicken coop from predators and avoid using live traps, as relocating wildlife can harm their families and lead to unnecessary suffering. Always check the laws before taking any action against wildlife.
To learn more about Hoots to Howls Wildlife Rehab, Inc. and support the cause, please visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/hootstohowls.
Get involved in the Second Saturday movement in Pulaski County! If you have a program or activity to lead or your business/organization is willing to sponsor a program, Pulaski County Tribe (PCT) wants to hear from you. PCT aims to bring a variety of engaging events to communities throughout the county in 2023. Join the movement to strengthen community connections and create experiences. Contact PCT today at pulaskicountytribe @ gmail.com.