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Little victim of Wickiup wildfire on the mend

By Brittany Weiner
Published On: Jul 31 2013 11:44:11 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 01 2013 12:35:04 AM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Brittany Weiner visited an injured flying squirrel at the High Desert Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation in Bend.

BEND, Ore. -

We've told you about the campers displaced by the Browns Creek Fire. But it's the wildlife in those forests that feel the devastation the most.

The High Desert Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation in Bend took in a injured flying squirrel Tuesday. He is a prime of example of other victims of wildfires.

Eyes open, legs moving and safe -- Wednesday was a completely different story for this little flying squirrel.

"He was extremely dehydrated, his little eyelids were burned shut, his feet are burned to a crisp," said Jeannette Bonomo, a veterinary technician at the High Desert Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation facility near Bend.

"He might lose some of his toes. He's got a lot of singed fur, and he's kind of sneezy and showing some respiratory problems."

The squirrel (which can't really fly) was Found by U.S. Fish and Wildlife workers, a victim of the Browns Creek Fire near Wickiup Junction.

"Yes, he's extremely lucky," Bonomo said. "We don't get honestly to many calls for animals that are burned in a fire, like this little squirrel. Most of the animals are just killed."

This little guy is one of the lucky ones.

"So you can see how he's having trouble walking," Bonomo said.

Now in the hands of veterinarian Jeff Cooney and Bonomo, he is being nursed back to health.

"These third-degree burns that he's sustained lose a lot of fluid," said Cooney. "That fluid has to be replaced. So this will help him feel a lot better."

A few shots a day help with burns, inflammation and hydration. Antibiotic drops help his eyes, which could have damage from the heat.

"That's all he gets for now. Now it's just time for a lunch of shitake mushrooms, and oyster mushrooms and maybe some blueberries," said Cooney.

The little guy is making good progress, but there is still a long way to go.

"Right now, we are just taking it a day at a time," said Bonomo. "He's definitely not out of the woods. He's a tiny creature that weighs only 46 grams, and he was out there in a big wildfire."

Bonomo says if you find an injured animal, put it in a box or a safe container. If you have a towel to put in the box, it helps birds with traction, and acts as bedding for mammals.

You can call High Desert Rescue and Rehabilitation at any time for assistance at 541-306-8462.

The organization is always looking for donations, as they take in many animals, especially over the summer months. Donations can be made at any U.S. Bank under High Desert Wildlife.

They also are always looking for donations of towels, bedding, cleaning supplies and newspaper. They can be dropped off at their facility at 62410 Erickson Road, east of Bend.

To find our more about the High Desert Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, you can visit their website at www.highdesertwildliferescue.org.

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