Wildlife warriors receive kudos

| 08/12/2010

(CNS): Celebrating their dedication to saving the lives of birds in distress, Cayman Wildlife Rescue are highlighting the work of two wildlife heroes, Mikaella Lacerda and Rogerio Pitta, both native to Brazil, who have been volunteering with CWR for two years. CWR Program Manager Alison Corbett commented, “These two ‘wildlife warriors’ have become integral to our program. I wanted to recognize their involvement and achievements over the last few years.” Mika and Rogerio were presented with an appreciation certificate from the National Trust for the Cayman Islands and given appreciation gifts for their efforts. DNS Diving donated a two tank boat dive for the couple and The Reef donated a weekend stay at the resort.

The couple has volunteered many hours each week, sometimes more than 30 hours each on top of their regular full-time jobs. Highlights of their work include a barn owl, nicknamed Barney, which suffered a spinal injury. Mika and Rogerio assumed much of his care, feeding him daily, and in order to prepare him for release he was exercised regularly on a creance. “It was a very long rehabilitation period for this barn owl and it’s thanks to the dedication of this couple that we were able to have a successful release.” Corbett added. After Barney was released, he even paid Mika and Rogerio a visit. Living nearby the release site, the couple spotted him regularly and eventually he was spotted later with a mate.

The team also helped rehabilitate two juvenile brown pelicans that came into the program last winter. Rogerio and Mika oversaw their care until they were ready for release. Rogerio, an avid photographer, captured the moment of the releases, the last pelican release was particularly moving he recounted: “As soon as we released the pelican in Pease Bay he was joined by several other pelicans, it was great to see them all together fishing in the shallows. It was a wonderful reward for all our hard work.”

During baby bird season when the program became inundated with nestlings and fledglings, Mikaella and Rogerio stepped up and volunteered the many long hours required to hand-raise baby birds. “I think it would be impossible to count how many baby birds this couple has hand-raised or how many nests they have successful restored. During our busiest time of year Mikaella and Rogerio have been invaluable.”

There were also many heroic wildlife rescues, such as a magnificent frigate bird which became entangled in a fishing line in the harbour. Mikaella and Rogerio were first on the scene; as it was the end of the day all the boat operators had left and there was no one to help them. Rogerio borrowed a kayak and paddled out to the frigate, which was near drowning. “The weather then quickly took a turn for the worse and not only was it pouring, the sea became quite rough. Rogerio disappeared from my view completely as he paddled out to the frigate.” Mikaella recounted. Rogerio quickly cut the line and pulled the frigate up on the kayak. Amazingly the bird was OK and rescued just in time. After being kept overnight and allowing his feathers to dry the bird was released the next day.

The two have also become highly sought after with their bird of prey experience, handling many owls and hawks which come into the program. One late night CWR received a call on their wildlife emergency hotline 917-BIRD (2473). A member of the public sighted a downed Osprey and the couple again went out. It was about midnight when they rescued the osprey and brought it in for emergency veterinary care, demonstrating their true commitment to wildlife rescue.

“Wildlife Rescue is a very demanding field; many long volunteer hours gave our program stability this last year. The demand on this program is growing and it has been very difficult. Without the dedication of Mikaella and Rogerio we wouldn’t have been able to operate. They are true wildlife heroes and I am so pleased we are able to present them with some tokens of our gratitude. Thanks to our friends at DNS Diving and The Reef for their support.”

If members of the public would like to support Cayman Wildlife Rescue, they can make a donation to Cayman Wildlife Rescue and mail to: PO Box 31116 KY1-1205 or purchase symbolic wildlife adoption kits available at the National Trust gift shop. For more information visit www.caymanwildliferescue.org.

917-BIRD (2474) the Wildlife Rescue Hotline, sponsored by LIME, is available for the public to call for injured, sick or orphaned native & migratory wildlife.

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Category: Science and Nature

Comments (3)

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  1. Lois Blumenthal says:

    We need more people like this! Please volunteer and/or donate funds. The Holiday Season is an especially difficult time to find help with the care and transport of injured animals. Contact CWR if you can assist in any way. As I’m sure Mika and Rogerio will agree, the work is it’s own reward. 

  2. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations!! What a wonderful article. Thanks for sharing with all of us who would never have known about this programme and its wonderful volunteers. if it had not been published. Thank you.

  3. Sandra Dailey says:

    Mikaella and Rogerio are passionate about Cayman’s wildlife.  Their help and dedication is exemplary and they are well deserving of the Award and recognition.  Bless them both for caring, and bless and protect our wildlife.