Dear Friend of Aark,
As we approach the end of 2016 and things begin to slow down in preparation for the long winter ahead, we at the Aark are already looking forward to the next baby season. In the last twelve months more than 5,200 wild animals received treatment in our clinic. Each of these creatures were helped because of you. Whether you saved an animal and brought it to the Aark or donated your time or money, we simply could not make such a remarkable difference without you.
In the chaos of a particularly busy May, a terrible storm raged through a nearby park. The long-time resident eagles were distressed and their home in peril. Then the unthinkable happened and suddenly the tangle of branches which made up their home came crashing down. Two babies just beginning their journey to flight were caught in the debris and fell to the ground, buried under what remained of their nest. Having witnessed this horrific situation unfold, a nearby property owner took swift action and contacted park officials and the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Within minutes the crew had assembled, digging through the rubble to find the babies. Sadly, the first little one succumbed to his injuries. The other survived but was seriously injured. Less than an hour later he was here at the Aark being examined by our rehabilitators. His wing was badly fractured and needed immediate surgery. A round of fluids and trauma medications were given and he was rushed to the vet. The doctor was optimistic. The next morning two pins were inserted into the ulna and radius of the injured wing. An external fixator device was applied allowing the wing to remain flexible, giving our little eaglet the ability to spread his wings, develop his chest muscles and test his balance. We set up a play pen in the clinic, lined with newspaper and straw, in preparation for his arrival and the beginning of his fragile recovery. Weekly trips to the vet revealed that the wing was healing well. Our “little” friend continued to recuperate in his make-shift nest, even beginning to perch on the edge while he watched the activity of the busy clinic around him. He was very social, not friendly, but curious and at times vocal about his needs and wants. He ate fish…lots and lots of fish! He grew and healed and each day we fell a little bit more for the youngster. One day, just a few days before he was scheduled to have his pins removed, he flew out of the play pen and plopped himself in the middle of the clinic, complaining about what? Nobody knows. Maybe he was just ready for the next thing. Pins were removed and he was cleared to practice flying. Moving day was exciting and sad all at once. We modified the 20 x 20 beaver enclosure so he could start spreading his wings without injuring them. We moved his “nest” into the enclosure and he continued to take naps nestled deep inside. But he quickly became depressed. No more noise of the clinic and constant movement around him. Eagles are very social and thrive with interaction. We just happened to have a juvenile black vulture who was also lonely. Who would’ve thought they would become best friends. No longer depressed, they both quickly learned to fly. We then moved them to the large eagle pen where they continued to thrive. On November 4, weighing in at just over 10 pounds, our baby made his journey back to the wild. We will continue to monitor his movements in the area as he soars to freedom. We were so lucky to have him here at the Aark this year and his release is the ultimate reward after many months of care.
Thank you for being part of the Aark family. Your support allows us to treat and release thousands of animals just like our little eagle. Perhaps you will see him soaring around the New Britain area. When you do, just remember, it’s because of you that our work continues. Please donate today and help make this world just a little bit better, one animal at a time.
Leah A. Stallings