Our First True Patient has arrived at Your Rancho Coastal Humane Society’s San Diego Wildlife Center (And boy oh boy….It’s so cute!)

There was excitement in the air when we held the grand opening of your Rancho Coastal Humane Society’s new San Diego Wildlife Center (SDWC) at 2380 Camino Vida Roble in Carlsbad. Equipment was installed. Supplies were stacked on the shelves. After months of planning, we were ready for our first patient. What would it be?

It didn’t take long to find out. Less than 48 hours after opening, the first true patient has arrived. A 3-week-old baby Merriam’s Chipmunk arrived early Wednesday morning.

SDWC Director Trish Jackman says, “The chipmunk was found on the sidewalk of our nearby rescue partners at the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services (DAS). They were able to pick it up and bring it to us. Other than being thirsty, it was in good condition.”

When the baby chipmunk arrived it had an initial examination to check for injuries or illness. After that SDWC staff members offered it food and water. According to Jackman, it didn’t have any interest in the food. “That’s probably because it hadn’t started eating solid food, yet. When we offered it the water, the chipmunk held on to the syringe with its feet and drank. She was thirsty!”

With one baby chipmunk, there was the possibility there could be more. The staff at DAS began searching the area to see if there are more babies, a nest, or a mother looking for her stray baby. Nothing turned up.

Trish says that, since the baby can’t be put back with its family, the chipmunk will eventually be released back into the wild. “This is wildlife. It’s not a pet. We will handle it as little as possible. While it’s here it will get the medical care and attention it needs, but our goal is to make sure it’s able to survive in its natural environment.”

SDWC accepts any wildlife in need. Treatment will take place on site or some animals will be transferred to partners for further care.

“We’re also working to educate the public about the care and safety of the wildlife in their neighborhoods. This is ‘baby season’ and we’ll be getting lots of questions.”

Since then SDWC has also accepted ducklings, rabbits, doves, and hummingbirds among other wildlife.

For more information about SDWC, to make a donation, or to learn about volunteer opportunities, log on to www.sdwildlife.org, call 760-621-6888, and “Like” SD Wildlife Center on Facebook: fb.com/SDWildlifeCenter.