A few years ago my mother founded Mystic Farm Wildlife Rescue Inc, a non profit wildlife rescue that specializes in the rescue and rehabilitation of ungulates (deer, moose, elk, etc). Whenever I visit my parent's place in the hills of Northern Idaho, there are fawns everywhere and my mother working her butt off to make sure she is the momma they never had - literally.
I asked my mother if she would be willing to answer some questions for my blog, and she was more than willing.
Molly: What inspired you to start Mystic Farm Wildlife Rescue?
Dory: I have always had a deep love for animals...all animals. While living in Alaska for more than 20 years, that love of animals led me to an almost obsession with the majestic moose. I learned all I could about them... including what it takes to successfully raise a moose calf for release back into the wild. We had many a needy orphaned moose calves on our property each year. After moving to Idaho, I contacted the local Fish & Game after hearing a radio report of a moose calf stuck in a basement window well in Pocatello. The report mentioned that it was not known where the baby would be taken to be cared for, as there was no sign of the mom and it was too young to be released back into the wild on its own. My offer to take in the calf and care for it until it was old enough to be "soft released", was met with the answer that it had already been placed in a "drive through bear viewing" facility near Yellowstone Park. I told Fish & Game that if ever the need were to arise in the future, I would be willing to take in any orphaned moose calves. (It was learned a couple of days later that the calf had died at the bear facility). The following year, I received a call from F & G of a set of orphaned, newborn, moose calves. They were followed by a tiny, orphaned mule deer. Then another mule deer fawn... Mystic Farm Wildlife Rescue has continued to grow and expand every year since.
Molly: Was this something you have always wanted to do?
Dory: Not consciously. I know now that I have always wanted to do this...just wasn't sure where, how, when, or even why! Now, I know it is my calling. I can't see myself ever giving this up or doing anything else.
Molly: What's your primary goal with the rescue?
Molly: What's your primary goal with the rescue?
Dory: The primary goal is the ultimate goal...to get the babies back in the wild where they belong. Period. All of them deserve a second chance. Without Mystic Farm, most of them would be eaten by predators or dead from starvation. As far as where is the rescue operation going? It is only growing...so much so that we are continually expanding to meet the needs of not only the immediate area, but of the state.
Molly: What have been some of your most rewarding triumphs?
Dory: So many... One little fawn pretty much sums up what this is all about...the triumph and rewards. She was brought to me hypothermic, limp, and lifeless. She had been discovered alone and abandoned in a small patch of woods adjacent to a subdivision. It was assumed the mother was probably killed by a car, leaving a near newborn fawn to fend for itself. After wrapping in warm blankets, being placed under a heat lamp, and slowly dripping small amounts of fluids down her little throat, she held her head up...a full 24 hours later. Now, three months later, she is part of a small herd of 10 fawns. I can't tell her apart from the others. She is in the middle of "soft release" and is a great success story. Now, that's a happy ending!
Molly: How many babies do you have right now?
Dory: Right now at Mystic Farm, we have 17 babies - whitetail, mule deer, and elk. All are in the process of being soft released back into the wild.
Molly: How do you acquire the orphans?
Dory: Every year, baby elk, moose, and deer (ungulates) are orphaned and/or injured due to the mom being killed when hit by a car (and/or the baby being hit - a young elk at our facility now was hit by a train), injuries from predators (we've had everything from a fawn that was picked up and then dropped by an eagle, to a newborn fawn that was stepped on by a cow shortly after birth). Unfortunately, way too many of the orphans that end up at Mystic Farm are due to well intentioned (or sometimes not so well intentioned) people picking up newborn calves/fawns, either thinking they are abandoned or even worse, thinking how fun it would be to raise their own fawn/calf! A major part of Mystic Farm is education...informing people to NOT pick up babies when they find them. The mother is usually nearby.
Molly: You single handedly run the entire rescue by yourself. What are some of the challenges that come with this?
Dory: I have been fortunate to have volunteer help now that the rescue is growing. It's a bit of a dichotomy...we want as little human contact with the animals as possible, but yet it is a tremendous job for one person. As the rescue is expanding, I am able to delegate more and more duties to volunteers. Mystic Farm has been approved for an intern through the University of Idaho for next season. That person will be assigned a particular group of fawns, for example, and care exclusively for them.The every two hour feedings of the newborns ('round the clock!) may not be such a challenge in the future!
Molly: You are 100% community and donation funded. Where can readers of the Geeky Peacock go make a contribution or help out in some way?
Dory: Mystic Farm has a website with a Paypal link. All donations are tax deductible as we are a 501 (c) 3 non-profit. We are presently in the running for up to $8000 from a local charitable give away contest. I urge everyone to vote for us in the Parker Toyota contest. Voting is only until the end of September (this Sunday!), and is only one vote per FB account.
Please vote (it only takes ten seconds!) to help my awesome mother win the money the wildlife rescue so desperately needs. Click here to vote.
See? Told you my mom was awesome. She's essentially a Disney princess!
All of the photos included are photos I have taken of the various babies my mom has rehabilitated over the years.