Our Golden State is a biodiversity hot spot, teeming with wildlife that we love and protect, like California condors, mountain lions, endangered rabbits, black bears, native frogs, and more. Sadly, our native animals face great challenges, like car strikes, lead poisoning, and climate-related wildfires. Oakland Zoo’s Wildlife Rescue and Recovery program aims to use our skills and facilities to assist native animals in need so that the wildlife we live with remains part of our rich California heritage.
As habitat for many native species suffers degradation due to development, wildlife corridors are being fragmented, and animals such as pumas are suffering car strikes. Loss of a female puma can lead to orphaned kittens that are too young to be on their own. When found, these cubs are often suffering from injury or starvation and need immediate rescue and care. California’s wildfires have also added to the number of pumas and black bears that need specialized burn-related medical attention and prolonged care in hopes of a full recovery.
Endangered California condors face their own threats due to lead poisoning, and lead toxicosis is thought to be the overwhelming reason that the California condor population remains unable to sustain itself. The birds become poisoned from lead fragments remaining in carcasses of animals that were shot using lead ammunition. The population at Pinnacles National Park is examined for lead poisoning regularly, and at times these birds need chelation and continued care and treatment before they are ready to return to the wild.
These species and more need skilled professionals and excellent facilities in order to receive the care they need.
Oakland Zoo’s Wildlife Rescue and Recovery program offers expertise, world-class facilities and the willingness to respond on a moment’s notice to help our state provide emergency care to our precious wildlife.
Caring for mountain lions in need has become an Oakland Zoo specialty, as our Vet and Animal Care teams have received many sick or injured pumas of all ages through a partnership with California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Burn victims need the most dedicated care, and Oakland Zoo continues to employ our state-of-the-art treatments to heal the most tender puma kitten paws with inspiring results.
Our Veterinary staff are also trained to provide medical care, including lead chelation therapy, to wild condors that are deemed ill or injured by field biologists and our Animal Care staff are experts in condor husbandry ensuring the California condors get the best rehabilitation possible.
Seeing a need, Oakland Zoo’s Wildlife Rescue and Recovery program hopes to continue to grow our capacity to take in and treat more sick and injured wildlife, as well as work to combat the issues facing them in the first place. We are proud to be of service to the individual animals that we treat, and the well-being of each species that shares our beautiful state.