Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care receives first 2017 cub, continues construction
June 3, 2017
Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care is ramping up for its busy season. Guided by its mission — to raise, rehabilitate and release orphaned and injured wild birds and animals — the nonprofit typically sees the most activity between May and September, according to founder Tom Millham, and this year is shaping up to follow the pattern of those past.
"We see about 95 percent of our birds and mammals between Memorial Day and Labor Day. About 5 percent come between October and April," he noted.
Within the past few weeks, LTWC has taken in river otters, barn and great horned owls, red tailed hawks, stellar jays, chipmunks, mountain cottontail rabbits, ground squirrels and its first bear cub born in 2017.
"It was the 21st of May. This one came in from Nevada City at 16 pounds, so we're calling him 'Nevada.' He's doing really well," Millham said.
"For the first five to seven days he was letting us know he missed his mom, who was killed. He was crying and mourning, but he's pretty much over that now and eating well."
Millham explained that the acquisition was slightly early in the season, as the organization typically doesn't see any cubs until June or July.
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Apart from preparing for the intake of more animals (LTWC volunteers finished training in May), the organization continues work on its new rehabilitation site. The project — which spans 27 acres and includes animal enclosures and a main building featuring a hospital, home for caretakers, boardroom and store — is approximately 50 percent funded with no expected date of completion.
"It all depends on money right now. We've raised half the money of a $7 million project — we have enough we could probably do the fencing and build out smaller cages.
"The bottom line is if someone came up today and said, 'Here's $3.5 million,' I could have it done in 12 months," Millham said.
Final touches are being put on underground work, which will be completed in the next few days. Next, the organization will work on framing cages after securing the area with a perimeter fence.
LTWC encountered a minor setback at the end of May: A spool of copper wire — to lay above water, electrical and sewer lines to identify them if needed — was stolen from the construction site.
"It caused a delay of a few hours — we couldn't put the tracing wire on until we went out and got a new spool. It was more the fact that we had this thing that was necessary to put in the ground with our sewer connection and someone came by, cut it and stole it," Millham said.
The incident had little to no effect on money raised for the project.
While the new site is under construction, LTWC continues to operate from its location at 1485 Cherry Hills Circle. The grounds are closed to the public except for one day each year: On Sunday, July 30, the organization will open its doors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Learn more about LTWC or make a donation online at http://www.ltwc.org.
The organization is also on Facebook (@laketahoewildlifecare) and Instagram (@lake.tahoe.wildlife.care).