Friday, October 16, 2009

Attack of the vampire seal!!

Yesterday we were catching seals and putting them into kennels to transport them to our release spot (we released 7 seals!!). I was helping try and get these heavy (most close to 70 lbs... some over) seals into kennels. This is a difficult task, and during trying to wrestle Fritz into his kennel he turned and in a split second bit me on the left wrist. The bite is quite deep, it penetrated my entire dermis, so I could see down to my muscle. I have been taking steps to make sure that it doesn't get infected (seal finger is a possibility, however with all the supplies we have here I'm not worried about it). I now have a nice little vampire looking bite on my wrist. I hope it scars because if you're going to get bit by a seal, it might as well scar so you have evidence of the tale, right! :P

In other news, we got a new seal in a few days ago. It was about 30 some lbs when she came in (she was named Harrington), so she has only been on fish mash for a few days and is now on whole fish. I don't know how much longer they'll have her in iso, but I don't think it'll be very long as she's quite big at this stage.

Also, the other day I went into Ganges (the main town on the island) to pick up a Cooper's Hawk from the water taxi. There were a bunch of high school kids coming in on the taxi from other islands (I have been told this is the only high school amongst the Gulf Islands) and one of the students brought the hawk with him in a box. The poor thing has head trauma and has a bit of a tick (it moves it head back and forth like it's reading something). We have been tube feeding it as it still isn't feeding on it's own. It doesn't even move when you approach it in the kennel. It is a juvenile, but has all of its adult coloration at this point (at least as far as I know). :)

Twice now during browsing (collecting browse for the fawns) I have been a part of finding a bird and bringing it in. The first time Saff and I were out and a robin was standing in the middle of the road and I actually had to swerve to miss it. We pulled over and Saff walked over to it and put her vest over it and picked it up, the whole time it didn't even flinch. The whole ride back to the Centre it didn't move. We we got back Yoch was checking it out (seeing if a wing was broken etc.) and it was making some noises, which we took as being fluid in the lungs. Once she put it in the basket it twitched its head and two sizable berries flew out! It then tried to take off! It was just choking! I think when Yoch stroked its crop that must have dislodged them. She let it go later that day.

The second time Lauren and I were on the side of the road when a lady pulled over and told us that she had just moved a little bird out of the road and it was in the bushes on the side of the road, and she told us where. We didn't think we'd be able to find it because it was small and she didn't give the best directions. We stopped and got out and in a few seconds after starting to look Lauren found it and picked it up in her gloves. We drove back to the Centre. We think it had head trauma (most likely from hitting a car). It seemed fine that day but it died the next day (most likely had a swollen brain etc.). It was a little fox sparrow.

Last but not least, I have decided to head out a few days earlier due to the fact that we have much less seals and the fawns were released this morning, so we won't have to browse much more (we still have the one that is too friendly), so things will be even slower around here with less to do. That and because the earlier I get home the earlier David and I can leave on our road trip (so we can have more cushion time for any weather difficulties). :) I love everyone here, and I really love the seals, but I am ready to go. :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009


On Friday morning I left on a ferry to go meet David in Sidney (where the Anacortes ferry comes in). He was going to meet me on the street where the bus stop was and we'd catch the bus together into Victoria. His ferry got in at 10:45 and the two buses we were going to try and catch were either the 11:10 or 11:40 (depending on how long it took him to walk there). I arrived around 11 and I waited and waited. I don't have a cell phone and no one could let me use their phone in businesses because it would be calling long distance. It was about 11:30 (I was getting quite worried as I knew it wouldn't take him that long to walk to the bus) when he came running down the sidewalk. He had been searched at customs after getting off of the ferry! They had asked him questions about what he had and because I couldn't remember everything he put (if it were just clothes or not) he hesitated in answering some of their questions so they took him aside and searched his bag and his person for 30 min!!! I told him he has to learn how to be less suspicious. :P We caught the 11:40 bus and made it into Victoria. We had lunch and walked around, checked into our hostel, which was very nice (Ocean Island Backpackers), and for dinner David surprised me by bringing me to a German place! It was so cute, the waitresses were wearing german dresses and there was a guy playing the accordion and we had schnitzel and bratwurst. :) It was really yummy. We caught the bus early in the morning back up to Swartz Bay were we were meeting David's parents and we were all going to Salt Spring together. They were just getting off of their ferry from Vancouver when we got there and so we didn't think they'd make it on the 9:00 ferry so we waited until we knew before we bought our tickets. It was hectic and confusing, but after buying our tickets and RUNNING to the ferry we all made it on together and were amazed that we were able to do so. :P We spend the morning on Salt Spring at the market and eating brunch. :) It was very nice. They brought me back to the Centre and I gave them a bit of a tour. Then I had to go back to work.

Late that night Yoch cooked a turkey and they made a big Thanksgiving meal as (as Lauren who's been going to school in Victoria for years told us that today [Oct 10]) it was Thanksgiving in Canada. David's family and I went out to eat at a place and we kept seeing signs that said they'd be closed or open on Thanksgiving Oct 12. I I was curious about this as Lauren said it was the 10th. The lady assured me it was the 12. When we got back I told Lauren and she was sure it was the 10th. We looked online and it said it was the second Monday of October, so it was the 12th and Lauren felt betrayed and lied to!! ;P It was quite funny, but she couldn't understand how her and everyone she knew had been celebrating it on the 10th for years!! Poor Lauren. :P When I got back they were just cleaning up and then we all had pie together. :) (pumpkin). It was a good time.

On another subject, David is going to be getting done with his work earlier than expected and so (as there's less and less to do here and we're going to be releasing most of our seals when Marielle comes back from her vacation this week, and the fawns are leaving Wednesday) I might just be leaving sooner as well. If I do so, David and I have decided to start out on our road trip a bit earlier so we have more leeway for weather problems.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Slowing down

Things have really started to slow down here at the Centre lately. Almost all of the interns before me have left (Dana's the last to go before I do and she leaves on the 6th) so in that sense we don't get as much time off as we used to (less people=less time off), but we also have very few animals left. We only have one seal in iso right now and she's almost off fish mash, close to free feeding. There are two seals in pool 1 and we just released 5 seals yesterday. The only animals we have left on birds are: A robin, two cedar waxwings, a finch (who's going to get release asap), pigeons, a crossbill (that apparently came in today), and the deer. The deer we are hoping to get rid of in the next week, two at the most. We have started to make it so we don't go into the enclosure with them (as they are very friendly and come up to us which is a bad thing). We are having a harder and harder time finding suitable things for them to eat when we go browse as the fall is progressing, which is the biggest reason we want to get them out, that and we want them to be in the wild again while there are still some things they can eat as they don't know how to scrounge and dig for food yet. We are still in the process of finding a suitable place to release them (looking for somewhere where they won't be hunted because as they are friendly that would not be a good situation for them).

Anyway, so a lot of our extra time (as feeding now doesn't take very long at all) is spent cleaning. We have to get the centre cleaned and prepared for winter (which is usually done by Marielle and another lady that comes to help clean after the interns leave, but the lady isn't coming this year and we have so fewer animals than usual). We are nearing completion on the cleaning side of things though, so it is being talked about that if it comes down to it and the staff have to start finding things for us to do then we might as well go home early. I don't know if it'll come to that yet, we can only really wait and see, but it is a possibility.

Today we had a booth at this lady's house for the Apple Festival. She owns this amazing property (most properties on the island are amazing) right next to the ocean where she has this huge plot of amazing gardens and apple trees! They make apple sauce every year and she is a big sponsor for the Centre. She invited us there because so people could get to know about us and the financial crisis that we are in. As the government has cut funding for environmental groups in order to help pay off their deficit, the centre is now out about $65,000, which they were not informed of until just a few weeks ago (not enough time to try and do much about it). We have been sending out flyers to everyone on the mailing list and so far, apparently, have raised about $10,000, which is amazing, but still not enough. Every year the Centre relied on that money and now we don't know even if they'll get it back again in later years. Sucks. The Centre usually stays open through the winter (Marielle stays as vet) and even though they don't get as much action, there are still animals to help. This year though because of the $ shortage they're closing for the winter (although Marielle is still going to stay). What a mess. It's sad that the environment is so low on people's list of priorities, if it weren't for the environment we wouldn't even be here!!

On another note, I think I have found out what is wrong with my computer. Apparently there is some sort of card thing that I forget the name of at the moment that Apple has found failing in a lot of Macbook Pros, which is what I have. They say that if you bring it into an Apple store, and it's within 3 years of the purchase date, then they will fix it for free!! I believe I bought my computer Nov or Dec of 2006, so it looks like I'll make it just in time. I'm going to bring it in to an Apple store in Seattle when I get home. That's about all for now! :)