This past week has been an emotional roller coaster, hence Blog Posts have had to wait. As Animal Rescuers we all know the individual efforts we make, the commitment needed and the intense networking it takes.
One week ago today, I received a call that a LOON had been rescued at the Water Sewage Treatment plant here in Hay River, NT. Of course I had to say yes, and the bird was brought to my home. Why the Loon had failed to migrate in time remains a mystery as the bird showed no external evidence of injury. Perhaps it’s mate had died and Loons like Swans will not leave their mates. Loons require open water, they are not meant to be on land for great lengths of time and with snow on the ground and waterways frozen, frigid temperatures (it was -39 celcius the day she was rescued) she surely would have frozen to death or fallen prey to the many predators in the area.
Having set her up comfortably, two full days were then spent networking, sending out Urgent Alerts for additional contact information. Long distance phone calls resulted in my finding a Wildlife Rehab in Burnaby, B.C. that would take her. Now it was the logistics of flying the Loon to Burnaby. Travel from the North to anywhere can be a nightmare, flights hinge on weather conditions, connections, one cannot fly direct to anywhere basically, at least not from Hay River.
Thankfully the email came in from Edmonton, that the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton would accept the Loon, care for her until she was ready for the next leg of her journey to Burnaby. Most encouraging news.
Now the preparations to arrange a flight from Hay River and obtain the required permits necessary. More calls and contacts to make.
The original flight arrangements made failed. The Loon had to be flown to Yellowknife to meet a connecting flight the same evening to Edmonton. As usual in the North, weather played a notorious part, in that the flight delay, plane would not arrive in Hay River on time, therefore the connecting flight to Edmonton could not be made in time meant another night in my home, until she could be flown out to Yellowknife the next morning.
Unfortunately there was no connecting flight out of Yellowknife to Edmonton until 5:15 the same day. Another phone call to notify Edmonton of the new flight schedule and a call to arrange for the Loon to be picked up by a representative of Canadian Wildlife Services in Yelowknife, who would hold her and make sure she got on her later flight. Again the weather further delayed her departure.
Arriving well after 10:30 p.m. in Edmonton the Loon was very stressed and exhausted. Now in safe hands she did receive two tube feedings and re-hydration. You can only imagine the relief all of us felt.
It is with sincere heartbreak that later the following morning I had to advise everyone that the Loon had not survived her ordeal. Receiving the call from Edmonton made my heart break. That sickening feeling in the bit of your stomach we are all familiar with.
This beautiful Loon, this fiesty lady, had the will to survive..yet the stress of delayed flights and finally the flight …… she could not recover from.
This is a tragic story in that she crossed the Rainbow Bridge, it is tragic also because there are no Wildlife Rehabilitation Facilities in the North whatsoever. At least she did not pass alone.
Yet while this story is tragic, it is also a story of collaboration, of total strangers coming together, people who genuinely cared, those that would go to whatever length it would take to give her a fighting chance. The dedication and commitment to do what could be done for her.
From the young men who found her and delivered her to me, their mother who called me, to the vast network who responded so quickly to my Urgent Appeal for help, to the Wildlife Rehab experts with whom I spoke numerous time, to the airline willing to fly her to where she needed to be, the officials who issued her permits for transport, and the many who emailed me wishing her good health and the very best on her journey.
I remain in awe of this amazing group of people, brought together by a Loon in trouble. To each and everyone, I owe a Thank You. All of you are amazing, all of you are very special.
Special thanks to:
Rescuer: Brent who cared enough to rescue her and bring her to me.
Mom: Edith who called me.
Holly: Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton who received the Loon in Edmonton, arranged for special permits, and who cared for her immediately upon her arrival in Edmonton
Canadian Wildlife Services who received the Loon in Yellowknife and ensured she made her connecting flight to Edmonton
GNWT – ENR who issued the permits and flew them to me from Fort Smith, NT
Mountainaire Avion Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in B.C. for their fast response and excellent care advise
And thanks to all of you that came together, individuals and organizations elsewhere in Canada, too many to name.
Rest in Peace
You will not be forgotten