OR7, The Journey – Northern California Premiere!

16 04 2015

May Day!! Celebrate one of America’s hardest working dads! OR7-The Journey will have its Northern California premiere at the Arcata Theater Lounge, hosted by Center for Biological Diversity, Northcoast Environmental Center, EPIC, and Bird Ally X.

Following the film, a chance to talk with director Clemens Schenk, powerful wolf advocate Amaroq Weiss, and representatives from the hosting organizations! Come on out to see this remarkable film of a very remarkable wolf!

May 1, 2015 – 7pm – $10

This movie has sold out in most other locations, so it’s a good idea to purchase tickets in advance here! See you there!


Join us at the Redwood Curtain on Earth Day, April 22

14 04 2015

Come out on EARTH DAY next Wednesday, April 22 to drink good beer and support Bird Ally X/Humboldt Wildflife Care Center. Live music by Kingfoot, and the awesome feeling of knowing you’re helping us feed and treat our injured and orphaned wild neighbors! A great time to be had doing the crucial work of getting right with Mother Earth!



13 04 2015

County Will Review Tactics of Wildlife Services, Which Kills Millions of Wild Animals Annually

For immediate release:
April 13, 2015

Megan Backus:     ALDF, 707-795-2533, ext. 1010 (office); 707-479-7872 (mobile); mbackus@aldf.org
Amey Owen: Animal Welfare Institute, 202-446-2128; amey@awionline.org
Amy Atwood: Center for Biological Diversity, 503-504-5660 (mobile); atwood@biologicaldiversity.org
Kimiko Martinez: Natural Resources Defense Council, 310-434-2344; kmartinez@nrdc.org
Camilla Fox: Project Coyote, 415-690-0338 (mobile); 415-945-3232 (landline); cfox@projectcoyote.org

Mendocino, Calif. –In response to legal pressure from a coalition of animal protection and conservation groups, Mendocino County officials agreed today to suspend the renewal of the county’s contract with the notorious federal wildlife-killing program known as Wildlife Services, pending an environmental review that will include consideration of nonlethal predator control methods. The county’s decision came after the coalition, and a Mendocino resident, filed a lawsuit against the county in November for violating the California Environmental Quality Act. As a result of that agreement, the coalition has agreed to dismiss its lawsuit.

Mendocino County’s previous $142,356 contract authorized the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program to kill hundreds of coyotes, as well as bears, bobcats, foxes and other animals in the county every year, without assessing the ecological damage or considering alternatives.

Today’s agreement was set in motion in July 2014, when the coalition, which includes Animal Legal Defense Fund, Animal Welfare Institute, Center for Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Project Coyote, urged the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors to terminate the taxpayer-funded contract with the Wildlife Services program and conduct a legally-required environmental review. As part of that settlement, the county has agreed to fully evaluate nonlethal predator control alternatives submitted by the coalition. The benefits of nonlethal tactics like those used in Marin County will be highlighted during a coalition presentation by Project Coyote’s Camilla Fox on May 5. The community is encouraged to attend.



Nearly 15 years ago, Marin County replaced its Wildlife Services contract with a nonlethal predator control program that decreased predation by 62 percent at one-third the cost. And in 2013, in response to a letter from the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Sonoma County’s Board of Supervisors opted not to renew that county’s contract with Wildlife Services.

In California, 80,000 animals are trapped and killed each year by Wildlife Services on behalf of commercial agriculture. Nationwide, Wildlife Services has spent approximately $1 billion over the past 15 years to kill 1 million coyotes and a host of other wild animals. In 2013 alone, it killed at least 4 million animals. And former employees have reported that the program dramatically underreports the number of animals killed. Peer-reviewed research shows that such reckless slaughter of animals, particularly predators, causes broad ecological destruction and loss of biodiversity.

Wildlife Services has been the subject of increasing controversy in recent years. Its employees have drawn public attention to the program’s routine acts of reckless cruelty. One was charged with animal cruelty for intentionally maiming his neighbor’s dog with a steel-jaw leghold trap. Another posted pictures on social media of his hunting dogs mauling coyotes caught in traps. More than 120,000 people signed an online petition demanding this employee’s termination and requesting an investigation into reports of animal cruelty by other Wildlife Services employees. The program is currently under investigation by the USDA’s Office of the Inspector General.

The coalition was represented in the lawsuit by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

Copies of the complaint and settlement are available upon request.


As many will recall, last summer the same issue was brought before Humboldt County’s Board of Supervisors by the same coalition of environmental and wildlife advocates, plus Bird Ally X and Humboldt Wildlife Care Center. Unfortunately that body voted unanimously to continue violating the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and renewed the county contract with this killing agency.

We are very heartened to see this development and we are working to bring a similar result in Humboldt (and the rest of California!). The era of killing our way out of human wildlife conflicts, which is ineffective, costly and morally repugnant must end. Let’s hope that our local elected representatives step to the new times and make some serious changes to the way they regard our wild neighbors. Co-existence is the only way forward. Restoration and rehabilitation of our relationship with Mother Earth is the only real work left to us. Let’s not delay.

Pelican Dreams on DVD! Become a member and get a copy!

12 04 2015

Released in 2014, we are excited to announce that Pelican Dreams, the latest documentary by award-winning filmmaker, Judy Irving (The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill) is now on DVD.

pelican dreams dvd pics - 1

Centered around the story of “Gigi” – a very young (4 months old!!) female Brown Pelican who landed on the Golden Gate Bridge one afternoon in August 2008, the film follows her rescue and rehabilitation. Brought to International Bird Rescue in Fairfield, California the story is helped along by “Gigi’s” primary caregiver (BAX/Humboldt Wildlife Care Center’s co-director, Monte Merrick). As the Pelican’s primary caregiver, the film spends some time with him, as well as wife and partner and fellow co-director, Laura Corsiglia.

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The film took over 6 years to make and includes footage from Bird Ally X/Humboldt Wildlife Care Center rescue work, and uses footage shot in Crescent City harbor by Arcata’s own Ishan Vernallis (Medicine Baul).

RIght now, thanks to Judy Irving and Pelican Media, Bird Ally X has a limited number of DVDs which we will happily sell for $25 or offer free with any membership pledge of $50. (Become a member!) Also, we have a small number of DVDs signed by Judy Irving as well as Monte Merrick and Laura Corsiglia which we are offering to the first 4 donations to Bird Ally X of $100.

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Preparing for wild babies…

7 04 2015

Yesterday we admitted our first wild babies of 2015. For these little ones though we have almost no worries. Why? Because we admitted them while they were safely tucked into their mother’s pouch.

About ten days ago, a kind woman, Wendy, was driving back to her home in Eureka when she saw an all too familiar sight – an opossum (Didelphis virginiana) lying in the middle of the road.

Wendy pulled over to move the opossum. “I think it’s an insult to leave them to bloat right where they’ve been run down,” she explained. “I always move them off to the side, into the bushes.”

But this ‘possum wasn’t dead. She was twitching. So Wendy scooped her up to take her someplace where she could die in peace, back at her place, away from the busy road.

But the opossum didn’t die. In fact, she seemed to be waking up. So Wendy gave her some cat food. And after ten days, she realized that she couldn’t actually provide the care the little marsupial required so she found us. IMG_1079

Of course we were concerned that the young female had been badly injured. It was easy to imagine a pelvic fracture, a broken leg, or some other injury that might render her unreleasable. And at this time of year, we of course were concerned that she might have babies in her pouch.

Well, upon examination, her injuries were minimal, the worst being a fractured jaw. However the fracture is healing and she’s able to chew and feed herself. And yes, she has a pouch full of very young babies.

As it happens we’ve just completed a new addition to our facility, an improved opossum house (we call it the Opossumary).

Designed by staff and built by our dedicated volunteers (many of whom are college students learning to use power tools for the first time!) our new housing for opossums will be sent on its maiden voyage with this young mother and her babies at the helm.

While this opossum family was relatively lucky, many are not. The number one mammal that we treat at our Bayside clinic is the Virginia Opossum. Most of these patients are babies whose mothers died when they were hit by a car. Please! – the damage people do with their cars is already more than our ecosystem can take. Drive carefully, drive like we share the world. And if you find a wild animal in trouble call us. We can help.

And as always, thanks to our supporters who make it possible for us to provide quality care for injured and orphaned wildlife. Your support gives wild neighbors like these a second chance. If you have the means, a financial contribution goes a long way for us. (you can use donate button at top of page)

Scroll down for photographs of our recently added opossum housing! Your support and our use of recycled materials makes these improvements possible! Thanks!

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Using recycled materials, and a smattering of purchased items like new plywood our newest housing addition goes online.

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Now wearing its new color!

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All our patient housing is a “room with a view.”

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Although our facility is small we take precautions to reduce stress with visual barriers between housing units.

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Our indispensible rehabilitation assistant, who jumps from animal care to construction with ease, Lucinda Adamson!

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A frog who came by to see what we were building!

Our Letter to the California Fish and Game Commission concerning implementation of the Bobcat Protection Act of 2013

31 03 2015

22 March 2015

California Fish and Game Commission
1416 Ninth Street, Suite 1320
Sacramento, CA 95814

Sonke Mastrup, Executive Director

re: Implementation of Bobcat Protection Act, in support of a statewide ban on Bobcat trapping.

Dear Sonke Mastrup;

Please include the following comments, submitted by myself, Monte Merrick with Bird Ally X/Humboldt Wildlife Care Center in the materials for the Commissioners as they work out the implementation of the Bobcat Protection Act. Thank you!


The history of wildlife and environmental protection in the United States is the story of hastily enacted corrections to careless and often malicious disregard for the natural balance of earth’s ecosystems. The actions of European colonists on the flora and fauna of North America are a well-recorded disaster. Degradation of habitat, loss of biodiversity, arrogant ignorance and barbaric cruelty have been the hallmarks of the colonizing culture’s interaction with the natural world.

For too many species, watersheds, grasslands, coastal waters and more, conservation efforts have proven too slow, too cumbersome or too weak to adequately rescue them from irreparable harm or even extinction. Examples abound: the Mississippi River, the Eskimo Curlew, the Great Lakes, Wolves, the Carolina Parakeet, the Passenger Pigeon. The Bison teeters in a netherworld of uncertainty, revered as an icon while being converted into an agricultural product.

In varying degrees, we all understand that colonialism, resource extraction, privatization of the commonwealth and the race to harness all forms of natural energy is very bad news for those with whom we share Mother Earth. The evidence is everywhere for all to see. To assert otherwise is to obfuscate, to dissemble, to hold your listener in the lowest regard.

This is the lay of the land in which we now attempt to protect the predators who remain, conserve the scant remaining habitat and halt a planet-wide skid toward an incomprehensible ecological crash. The enormity of what our era faces has no adequate vocabulary. The scale of this disaster is wholly unprecedented, except by cosmic forces. 

We stand here, in this precarious state, attempting to alleviate the absurd and unjust pressure that Bobcats in California must suffer for what is only a pathological desire for inexcusable cruelty.

The rationale for trapping predators, if any, are few and even fewer for species such as Bobcat, who pose no real threat to human safety or the overly protected economic interests of agriculture. In fact, the language of the Bobcat Protection Act states that a primary reason for trapping Bobcat in California is the cash value of their skins in China. To require a persuasive argument that such a rationale for killing Bobcats is immoral, inhumane, wasteful and against the values of rational citizens of California is an affront to intelligence, an affront to self-evident truth.

Only the most thoughtless and cruel among us could dispute this. As it happens, and perhaps somewhat surprisingly, such are happy to make their presence known on this and other matters concerning wildlife protection and conservation.

At the California Fish and Game Commission meeting 4 Dec 2014 in Van Nuys, a representative of the California Trapper’s Association made several statements on behalf of trapping Bobcat. Perhaps his most ridiculous assertion was that a ban on Bobcat trapping would be “cultural genocide” – a shocking statement to make while standing on ground that once belonged to the Tongva people, in a state that once was home to over a hundred distinct human languages. In other words, a groundless statement diminished in its offense only by its total ignorance.

Still, putting aside the fact that to debate those who would trap and destroy Bobcat is a circus without merit, the current work being done to implement the Bobcat Protection Act has raised a few points that need to be addressed, if for no other reason than to satisfy our own respect and love for what is real.

Of the options for implementation currently being discussed, that is, (1) a statewide effort to create buffers around all areas where Bobcat trapping is not permitted, (2) the creation of North and South Bobcat trapping zones which would reduce by a factor of ten the number of exclusion areas that need to be delineated and described, and (3) a ban on Bobcat trapping in California, only a ban is feasible.

The dedication of resources required to describe buffers around each park, refuge, and monument, etc. is absurdly steep. Even the second option, which significantly reduces the number of buffer zones, is too expensive. California faces more than enough financial challenges, which will only increase as climate disruption and drought tax our basic services to a degree for which we might not yet be adequately prepared.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife is already tasked with a mission that is highly challenging and underfunded. Citizens of California have a right to sensible leadership that recognizes the current and predictable future needs of our communities and plans accordingly. How could anyone think that spending tens of thousands dollars ensuring that cruelty in the service of avarice, which is what Bobcat trapping amounts to, be protected and enshrined in Fish and Game code?

The third option, which was brought to the table at the aforementioned December meeting, is the only responsible action possible that will meet both the requirements of the Bobcat Protection Act and provide good husbandry of our limited resources.

The Bobcat Protection Act makes explicit (sec 4155, (b)(2), (e), (f)) the Fish and Game Commission’s authority to implement this law and “impose additional requirements, restrictions, or prohibitions related to the taking of bobcats, including a complete prohibition on the trapping of bobcats…”

Now, after centuries of abuse, it is imperative that our policies and programs reflect what we already know. A tradition of cruelty, a tradition of greed, a tradition of reckless disregard for the natural world that gives us our lives and which we barely comprehend is no tradition to protect. 

The only sensible plan is to ban commercial and so-called recreational trapping. The Bobcat Protection Act is intended to protect Bobcats, not Bobcat trappers.

Thank you for considering these points and for engaging in the hard work of implementing the will of Californians.


Monte Merrick
co-director/co-founder Bird Ally X
Humboldt Wildlife Care Center


Want to add your voice to the call for a ban on Bobcat trapping? Check out Project Coyote‘s list of things you can do…

Who Saved My Life?

26 03 2015

march april jarpic real final copy


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