Meet Our Wildlife Education Ambassadors
Wildlife Educational Ambassadors are non-releasable wild animals that help advance the cause of wildlife education and conservation by their numerous appearances throughout the community at schools, private and public events. To be able to see them up close is an unforgettable experience. For a nominal fee, you may schedule a presentation with the Ambassadors and their handlers.
You can help our ambassadors spread the word about wildlife conservation by making a tax deductible donation to Wildlife Rehabilitation & Release. 100% of your donation will go toward the care, feeding, and medical expenses of our ambassadors. Please be aware that keeping wild animals in captivity requires permits from both U.S. Fish & Wildlife and California Department of Fish & Wildlife. It is illegal to possess a wild animal unless you are a permitted wildlife rehabilitator/handler or falconer.
Great Horned Owl (Chester)
Chester was found hanging on a barbed-wire fence in 2006 by a Yuba County Animal Control officer. It is presumed that he flew into the fence while hunting in a field and may have hung there for two days before being found. While thrashing around to escape, he severely damaged his wing and scratched his right eye. Surgery was performed to save the wing but it did not heal well enough to enable him to hunt in the wild. Both Chester’s wing and damaged eye determined him to be non-releasable. First he became a foster parent for many young Great Horned Owls in rehabilitation. Then he became an Education Ambassador due to his intelligent, calm, and good-natured demeanor. He is a very popular Ambassador who regularly visits many classrooms and attends many events in the area.
Western Screech-Owl (Kajika)
Kajika was hit by one car and narrowly escaped a second. The finder realized he was NOT a pinecone and pulled over to save him. He arrived in May of 2010, with major head trauma. A veterinary exam revealed that Kajika suffered permanent damage to his eyes and both eardrums had burst resulting in deafness. Although some sight and hearing eventually returned, it was determined that Kajika could not survive in the wild. He showed a good temperament for living in captivity and became an Education Ambassador with WRR. The name "Kajika" comes from the American Indian language meaning "walks in silence." People are entranced by Kajika and often mistake him for a baby owl because he is so small.
Barn Owl (Steamer)
In the winter of 2011, a tiny nestling Barn Owl was found on the ground below what was left of his nest along with two dead siblings. What saved his life was landing in a fresh “cow pie.” The little owl was fondly named “Steamer.” Young Barn Owls typically have ravenous appetites. But Steamer’s fall caused injuries to his wing and abdomen so he had to be enticed to eat at first with little bits of mice. Infection in the wing required a course of antibiotics which secondarily caused some feather damage. Steamer looked a bit scraggly for a while until he grew into his juvenile plumage. An incredible amount of love and care went into helping Steamer grow into a normal and healthy Barn Owl. Unfortunately, Steamer’s difficult start in life resulted in a permanent wing injury and not-so-perfect feathers, making him non-releasable. For a Barn Owl, Steamer displayed a relatively calm personality, qualifying him to be a good candidate as an Education Ambassador. Steamer is now a handsome adult Barn Owl who will live a life of teaching many people about the value and beauty of his species.
American Kestrel (BraveHeart)
BraveHeart came to WRR on March 2, 2009, estimated to be about six years old at the time. It was reported to WRR that he was being held as a "pet" in a wire cage in a garage. To (allegedly) prevent the bird from escaping, the person cut off BraveHeart’s wing at the wrist and the talons were cut to the “quick.” BraveHeart had an infection in his right eye and because it was untreated, a cataract formed causing vision impairment. In spite of all of the cruelty the little bird endured, BraveHeart has overcome his extreme fear and distrust of humans. He is now a cherished member of the WRR Educational Ambassador team, going to schools and events, and winning the hearts of all who meet him and hear his story.
Red-tailed Hawk (Skye)
Skye, a “light morph” female Red-tailed Hawk, was transferred to WRR through the Ojai Raptor Center, just before Christmas, 2012. She was found in Camarillo, near the Pacific Coast Highway, close to an Air Force Base. She had been shot. The bullet shattered the radius in her wing and although the bone has healed, the wing cannot fully extend. Sadly, Skye will never be able to fly well enough to sustain herself in the wild.