We like to reach out during and after times of disaster. It’s easy for us to imagine how we would want to be helped if we were facing a dire situation, and the distress it would cause us encourages us to help.
Many people have found ways to help after the fires that have burned through California. While California always seems to have a fire season, this year’s was particularly bad, with the Camp Fire being one of the most destructive fires on record.
Good Samaritans have opened up their homes, given of their funds and put in time to assist fire victims in any way they can. Soup kitchen volunteer turnout in some areas of California was especially high over Thanksgiving because people’s compassion has been ignited.
It seems logical, then, that the animals affected by these fires could use the same kind of handouts — and while that’s true for many domesticated animals, wild animals are another matter altogether.
Plenty of well-meaning people along nature highways and surrounding the burn areas have put out food and water in an attempt to help the suffering creatures high-tailing it to safety.
The problem is, this kind move isn’t very helpful in the long run. In fact, it can have devastating results for the animals and the people.
“Want to help wildlife after the fire?” the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area posted on Facebook. “As difficult as it may be to accept, the best thing you can do is to leave them alone.”
“Do not approach wildlife and please DO NOT LEAVE OUT WATER OR FOOD, as it may habituate them and have other unintended consequences. Wildlife are highly resourceful.”
When wild animals begin to rely on humans, they lose their drive and ability to forage for themselves, making them dependent. More dangerous or disease-carrying critters can become too familiar with people, becoming nuisances and ultimately needing to be relocated or euthanized.
However, there are some situations where animals do need a little help from humans, though the help should be given very carefully and quickly. Many animals who have suffered burns need treatment, and people are being urged to call a number of wildlife rehabilitation groups to get those animals help.
These firemen were able to help out, too, when they stumbled across a deer that had become entangled in a downed power line. They were there with a group of firefighters from Oregon, helping with the horrible fires in Paradise, California.
The Eugene Springfield Firefighters Instagram account originally posted the video of the rescue, explaining the situation in the caption.
“While the Lane County Strike Team is working through Paradise, Ca putting out hot spots, the Mohawk Firefighters found a deer entangled in a power line and were able to cut him free. Nice job Mohawk Valley Fire Department.”
It’s little moments like this that are keeping people’s spirits high even after such a devastating blow.
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