Firefighters rescue great horned owl from California fire

A great horned owl survived the Maria Fire that raged through Southern California last month thanks to the kindness of Ventura County firefighters.

The Dodo reported that while patrolling for dangerous trees weakened by the flames, an ash-covered great horned owl’s bright yellow eyes stopped the firefighters in their tracks. The owl was in a burnt-out portion of a drainage ditch and looked confused.

Despite the bird’s large size and sharp talons, the firefighters didn’t hesitate. They took off their coats and swaddled the bird, according to The Dodo. Once the bird was secured, the rescuers called their chief, who put them in touch with the director of the Camarillo Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.

An examination revealed the owl was suffering from smoke inhalation. The director of the center said in a video published on Facebook that the firefighters got to the owl just in time and that he will be able to be released back into the wild.

The firefighters asked if they could name the owl after their crew mascot and favorite football team— the Los Angeles Rams—and staff at the center obliged. Ram will be back in the wild soon.


Hunting dying out in South Dakota and Michigan

Officials in South Dakota have reported that the state has sold nearly 26,000 fewer hunting licenses this year, which has cost the state more than $1 million in lost revenue. State Department of Game, Fish and Parks officials acknowledge that the drop in license sales could be a continuation of a decades-long decline in hunting, trapping and fishing.

Likewise in Michigan, hunting is on the decline as young adults opt for other activities. Michigan had as many as 1.2 million hunters in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, according to an article in USA Today. But in 2018 fewer than 675,000 people had at least one hunting license.


Massachusetts considers banning wildlife killing contests

Massachusetts is considered a ban on wildlife killing contests that target fur-bearing animals, including coyote, bobcat, red fox, gray fox, coyote, opossum, raccoon, weasel, fisher, mink, river otter, muskrat, beaver and skunk.Opposition to wildlife killing contests has grown rapidly across the country in recent years:

  • The Arizona Game and Fish Commission voted unanimously to ban predator killing contests in June 2019.
  • New Mexico’s legislature abolished coyote killing contests 2019.
  • In 2017, Maryland placed a moratorium on cownose ray killing contests in the Chesapeake Bay; in February 2019, the Maryland Senate voted unanimously to extend this moratorium.
  • Vermont’s legislature abolished coyote killing contests in 2018.
  • The California Fish and Game Commission banned the awarding of prizes for killing furbearing and nongame animals in 2014.
  • New York and Oregon are currently contemplating laws on this matter.