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Sensitive Species, Subpermittees & Construction Progress

The last two of the five golden eagles that arrived for care during June and July were successfully released back into the wild on Sunday August 6th at the C Overlook above Cedar City, Utah.  As you may recall, both of these eagles were young eagles born this year who had been separated from their parents and were dehydrated and starving in the excessive summer heat.  They were brought to the Southwest Wildlife Foundation by the Utah Division of Wildlife Services (UDWR).  

Having so many large birds in our care at the same time, the Southwest Wildlife Foundation went from two freezers full of food to one freezer completely empty and the other very low.  Though rehabilitation has slowed down a bit in August, we did have several new arrivals including another golden eagle, a great horned owl, screech owl, saw whet owl, Cooper's hawk, two red-tailed hawks, a variety of sparrows, doves, finches, a robin and a baby garter snake with a severe birth defect which prevented it from eating and moving normally.  Sadly, a few of these arrivals, including the golden eagle and the baby snake, did not make it or had to be humanely euthanized due to the severity of their injuries.

Rescues that were able to be released in August other than the two golden eagles include the great horned owl, the Cooper's hawk, a finch, a hummingbird, the ferruginous hawk and little pygmy rabbit that arrived in July.  Ferruginous hawks and pygmy rabbits are both considered sensitive species, meaning a species that is found on the endangered or threatened species list or has been identified by the State or Federal government as a species that is at risk of becoming threatened or endangered.  Ferruginous hawks are the largest hawks in North America, the largest ones can reach the size of a small eagle.  In Utah, the ferruginous hawk is listed as threatened while they are labeled a species of concern federally.

Even though all native rabbits are protected in Utah, the pygmy rabbit is the only rabbit that does not have a season designated where it is allowed to be hunted.  The pygmy rabbit depends on sagebrush as its main food source as well as for protection.  Pygmy rabbits are the smallest rabbit in Utah, measuring 8-11in long and weighing only 1/2-1lb.  They have a shorter breeding cycle than other rabbits and are currently considered endangered in the state of Washington.  The little pygmy rabbit we have been caring for was rescued from a cat.  Fortunately, it was not injured by the cat and we were able to mix a formula that agreed with its delicate digestive system.  There are only a few colonies of pygmy rabbits in the area, so this little one was released in an area with a known colony where it had the best chance of survival and reproduction.             

Watch this video about the 5 golden eagles that were rescued and successfully released back into the wild in July and August. Video created by DG of Rexruff WebDesign.
For those of you who have been following us, the little male kestrel falcon that was brought to us back in January with all the flight feathers on its right wing broken off from an unknown incident has been molting this summer, but so far is failing to grow in new flight feathers on its right wing which prevents him from being released since he cannot fly.  We will give him another month or so to see if those feathers will grow back.  If they do not grow back we will apply to transfer him to an educational permit to keep him as one of our animal ambassadors we use for education.  The kestrel falcon is the smallest falcon and would be an ideal animal ambassador for school programs and visits.

As many of you already know, Martin Tyner, the Founder and CEO of the Southwest Wildlife Foundation, is also the Director of Wildlife Services and our wildlife expert and rehabilitator.  He oversees all of the care of our animals.  Martin has been working with wildlife for over 40 years and holds all of the necessary permits to allow the Southwest Wildlife Foundation to rescue and care for the hundreds of animals we take in each year.  Wildlife rehabilitation is hard work.  As the sole wildlife rehabilitator, Martin is on call 24/7, 365 days a year, no holidays, no vacations.  In order to ease some of that burden, Martin is able to take on sub-permittees who can work under him and be trained by him to become future wildlife rehabilitators.  Recently, three sub-permittees were added to Martin's permits, allowing for these trusted individuals to help with care and transport of the animals.  

You may wonder what can qualify an individual to become a sub-permittee.  Our new sub-permittees include Susan Tyner who has spent years volunteering and assisting as Martin's Executive Secretary as well as with events and videography, Vicky Swasey who has volunteered with events and specializes in bottle feeding mammals and caring for snakes, but has also volunteered for years with songbirds and raptors as well, and KayAnne Cantonwine who specializes in the care of small birds and has been volunteering with the Southwest Wildlife Foundation for many years.  There are strict rules when it comes to caring for wildlife.  Wildlife rehabilitators require years of training under a licensed rehabilitator, apply for a permit through the government and keep their licenses current.  In order to preserve the wildlife rehabilitator's ability to continue their work, and most importantly protect the well-being of the animals, sub-permittees must be carefully screened and chosen.  The sub-permittees must also be approved by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  The Southwest Wildlife Foundation requires individuals interested in working with our wildlife to first prove their dedication to the mission of the Southwest Wildlife Foundation through volunteer work in other areas of the Foundation. 

We are grateful for several donations we have received this summer.  Car loads of wild bird seed came from a variety of pet stores and feed manufactures that were picked up from Clark County, Nevada and delivered to us by Dianne Gil, We Care For Animals, and PAWS (Providing Animals With Support).
 We have also received donations from our wish list published on our newsletter.  Thanks to a couple of anonymous donors we have received a 100’ heavy duty garden hose, 100’ heavy duty extension cord, trash bags, work gloves, HP printer, ink, a weed blower, shovels and a rake.  Photographer Melani Wright donated two beautiful framed photographs for the Southwest Wildlife Foundation to use for fundraising.  Donations of gear were also received from Utah Canyon Outdoors and a variety of outdoor gear vendors, such as OutdoorResearch, Thermarest, Marmot, ChicoBag, Opinel and others, to be used as fundraisers at our August Wilderness Safety Festival Event and our September 20th Anniversary Celebration.  You can also donate every time you shop on Amazon without any extra cost.  Please Bookmark this link and share it with your friends so all their eligible shopping will benefit Southwest Wildlife Foundation Inc. 
Exciting things are happening with progress on current projects at the Cedar Canyon Nature Park, as well as plans for upcoming projects.  As many of you know, our Construction and Development Committee has been working diligently to develop the Cedar Canyon Nature Park so that all of our rescue and rehabilitation work can be relocated to the Cedar Canyon Nature Park, and so that we can increase educational opportunities and provide more volunteer, intern and career opportunities as well.  

The projects currently underway include the completion of our Information Destination Restroom Facility along the Coal Creek pedestrian trail just across from the Southwest Wildlife Foundation's green Memorial Bridge, and a picnic area and native plant garden next to it.  The Southwest Wildlife Foundation partners with our local schools to provide the Cedar Canyon Nature Park as an outdoor classroom for students.  The Information Destination provides restroom facilities and educational materials, while the picnic area provides places for students and visitors to relax, and the native plant garden provides more opportunities for hands on learning.  

August saw the completion of both the roof, siding and the installation of the doors on our Information Destination and we are thrilled with the way it turned out!  Stout Roofing prepped and installed the roofing, Big D installed the siding and Imperial Windows and Doors provided and installed the doors and frames.  A group of student volunteers from Southern Utah University came out on Saturday, August 26th to prep the interior walls for insulation, caulk in preparation for paint and clear large rocks from the picnic and native plant garden area.  September will see the completion of the Information Destination facility with the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony taking place on September 29th at 6pm at the start of our 20th Anniversary Celebration and final Campfire Concert of the 2017 Season.  We will also be grading and paving the trail head from our parking area to our bridge in October.

Blueprints for our Visitor Center and Museum of Natural History have been completed by retired NASA architect Robert Tryon and approved by the Southwest Wildlife Foundation's Board of Directors.  Fundraising for this all important project is now underway!  The design is amazing and we are so excited to see it come to fruition as soon as the funding is gathered!  We are working on raising $200,000 for the first phase of the structure to be built.  Once the Visitor Center is built the Cedar Canyon Nature Park will have on-site staff, rescue and rehabilitation work will be moved over which will allow us to train more rehabilitators and rescue more animals, we will be able to begin accepting interns, and educational opportunities will increase!  The completion of this project will ensure the continuation of the Southwest Wildlife Foundation for generations to come and we will be able to more fully meet our mission.  
Each year, the Southwest Wildlife Foundation has the Campfire Concerts in the Park the last Friday of June, July, August and September with an educational speaker and musicians around a campfire at the Cedar Canyon Nature Park.  We also put on a separate educational event each year where we partner with Southern Utah University, the Garth and Jerri Frehner Museum of Natural History and the Forest Service.  In 2016, our educational event was a BioBlitz.  This year we had our Wilderness Safety Festival.  These events often coincide with one of our Campfire Concerts and a 5K Fun Run Fundraiser along the Coal Creek pedestrian trail that goes through the Cedar Canyon Nature Park and down through Canyon Park.  Visitors had a wonderful time learning about reptile identification and safety, identifying animal scat and tracks, learning about native plants and fire safety, as well as how to be prepared when out hiking.  Participants were entered into prize drawings provided by outdoor gear vendors.  We are so grateful to the generosity of all those who participated in our Wilderness Safety Festival as well as our August Campfire Concert, especially our featured musician Ethan Sapphire!  We had a wonderful time and look forward to our future concerts and educational events.  We are currently in need of volunteers to assist us with planning and organizing events, as well as musicians who would be interested in performing at our Campfire Concerts for the 2018 Season.  If you have an interest in volunteering your time and talents in these areas, please email us at

Friday, September 29th marks the 20th Anniversary of the founding of the Southwest Wildlife Foundation.  It also marks the final Campfire Concert of the 2017 Season.  We thought it only fitting to include our Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Information Destination, the placing of a special memorial bench at our native plant garden, and a Bird of Prey Program featuring our founder Martin Tyner, Scout the golden eagle, Cirrus the prairie falcon and BG the goshawk as part of the festivities!  The schedule for this event is as follows:

20th Anniversary of the Southwest Wildlife Foundation Celebration, Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Information Destination and Final Campfire Concert of the 2017 Season

Friday, September 29th, 2017 5:45pm-9pm
Bobbie's Memorial Bench Placement 5:45pm
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony 6pm
Bird of Prey Program featuring Martin Tyner, Scout the golden eagle, Cirrus the prairie falcon, and BG the goshawk 6:15pm
Featured Musicians 7:15pm: 
Singer & Songwriter Kim Baldwin
Guitarist David Shafer
Bat Walk by Professor Jackie Grant 8:30pm

As always, the Youth Volunteer Corp will be providing free face painting and we will have our campfire with free s'mores available.  Additionally, we will have an Outdoor Gear and Nature Photography/Artwork Fundraiser which will include silent auctions, gear drawings and items available for purchase while supplies last.  We will also have the blueprints for our Visitor Center and Museum of Natural History on display.  All funds donated during this event will go towards caring for wildlife and developing the Cedar Canyon Nature Park.  The items that will be available during this fundraiser event include: Thermarest Slacker Hammock House with Hammock Pad and SuperSnuggler, Marmot Tungston 3 Person Tent, Gift Certificate from Utah Canyon Outdoors for a Private Slot Canyon Hike for 2, 5 Good To-Go Dehydrated Meal Pouches, 1 pair of OutdoorResearch Stormtracker Gloves, 1 OutdoorResearch Hooded Blue Jacket, 1 OutdoorResearch Sensor Dry Holster pouch, 1 3 pack ChicoBag Snack Time Reusable Sandwich and Snack Bags, 1 ChicoBag Sling rePETe crossbody tote that can fit in your pocket when not in use, 1 ToGoWare Kids Bamboo Utensil Set that are reusable and dishwasher safe with pouch, 4 Opinel Carbon Steel pocket knives, 14 Opinel Stainless Steel pocket knives, 2 framed bird photographs by Melani Wright, Owl lithographs by Clayton Rippey, various nature photographs by Martin Tyner, Healer of Angels book and various nature t-shirts. 

We hope as many of you can join us for this special event as possible!  As always thank you for your continued support!
Copyright © 2017 Southwest Wildlife Foundation Inc., All rights reserved.

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