Those who live in the city or near animal habitat sometimes get heartbroken to see urban wildlife lose in the usual, constant conflict between humans and animals. At times, they also wish they could do something about it, but don’t know how to start.
The stories below about women who were moved to rescue wildlife at their own houses might inspire you or let you know which places to go when you stumble upon an injured animal.
Mexico City’s hummingbird hospital
During a challenging period in her life, Catia Lattouf unexpectedly met Gucci.
An animal rescue organization brought the injured hummingbird to her shortly after she had outlived doctors’ predictions, thriving beyond the initially predicted two months.
At first, due to feelings of depression and fear, Lattouf didn’t make any efforts to get close to Gucci.
However, she changed her mind: despite having lost one eye, the determined little bird was ceaseless in his efforts to lift her spirits. He perched in front of her computer screen and stared at her until she eventually gave in and started playing with him.
“He was my emotional medicine,” Lattouf said.
The two formed a bond that lasted exactly nine months. Looking back at their story, Lattouf saw a sign in Gucci’s short time with her. “Rebirth. He gave me a new life,” she said.
While her home had long served as an informal bird sanctuary, Lattouf had concerns about meeting the specific needs of hummingbirds at first.
As she went on, however, with trial and error, Lattouf has successfully rescued and released hundreds of hummingbirds, while also raising awareness about their ecological significance.
Hummingbirds’ importance for the environment
Hummingbirds play a crucial role in the American food web. They also serve as pollinators for various flowering plants spanning from Alaska to South America.
According to the conservation organization Pollinator Partnership, many of these plants have adapted and evolved to depend on hummingbirds for pollination.
Lattouf’s work gained a lot of attention when a TikTok video of her efforts went viral. And more people have been made aware of hummingbird rehabilitation.
People from across the Valley of Mexico and its surrounding area have flocked for Lattouf’s magic hands, bringing injured or mistreated hummingbirds they come across.
Lattouf actively involves the rescuers in the recovery process by providing updates and photos of the birds’ progress. If it’s possible, she invites them to participate in the release of hummingbirds that have sufficiently recovered to the wild.
With future plans in mind, Lattouf intends to establish a foundation to continue her work. Recognizing that not everyone can sustain such efforts without financial support, she aspires to create a charitable institution capable of employing biologists and other professionals dedicated to caring for hummingbirds.
As of today, Lattouf has a busy schedule, dividing her time between rehabilitating hummingbirds and providing life-coaching support to cancer patients.
She has teamed up with a similar organization in Mexico City called Terraza Colibrí (Hummingbird Terrace in English). It serves as the release site for rescued birds.
Lattouf intends to run the organization with the same guiding philosophy of her work with people with cancer.
“In this life, you come across people who need a kind word, a smile, a hug, five minutes of your time or even economic help to make them understand that they are important. Don’t turn your back on them so that this human chain we are making remains in place,” she said.
South Georgia woman who saves wildlife
A woman in South Georgia believes that rescuing orphaned and injured wildlife is crucial for maintaining a healthy ecosystem.
And so, Jessica Pisciotta has been involving herself in this work since she was 15 years old.
Pisciotta owns Steadfast Wildlife Rescue Rehab, Inc., located in Tifton. With the assistance of the Department of Natural Resources, Pisciotta rescues animals that have been injured, usually after accidents like car accidents.
She cares for these animals, and those that can’t be returned to the wild become part of educational programs at universities in Georgia.
Pisciotta has rescued many animals, like red-tailed hawks, deer, foxes, great horned owls, raccoons, and opossums.
Her mission is to return these animals to their natural habitats because she believes they belong in the wild, not as pets.
She emphasizes that helping wildlife benefits both the animals and our ecosystem, ensuring a balanced and stable environment.
“We just get them back to where they can get back to their natural habitat. They are God’s creatures and they’re not ours to have as pets they’re not ours to keep. They belong in the wild and that’s where we get them back to as soon as we can,” Pisciotta said.
Pisciotta is asking for community support through volunteer work to help care for and feed the animals.
With at-home rehabilitations, donations of food and essential supplies are needed to keep it going.
If you’d like to contribute by donation, you can do it via CashApp at $steadfastwildlife or PayPal at email@example.com.
Guilford wildlife rescuer
Eunice Demond has been battling to keep her shelter open for nearly three years.
It all began when the zoning enforcement issued a cease-and-desist order against Little Rascals, the name of her shelter.
Apparently, a neighbor had filed a complaint about odors, flies—claiming that they were coming from her property.
Demond tried to address the issues and it was going well for a while. Until, she later discovered that she needed a special permit to run a nonprofit wildlife operation on her property.
Then, she tried to apply for the permit. But in 2021, the Planning and Zoning Commission denied her application.
To retaliate, Demond filed a a lawsuit against the Zoning Board of Appeals and the PZC. Unfortunately, she lost the case. According to DeMond. The suit ended up in Hartford Superior Court.
As a result, months ago, Demond decided to shut down her home rescue operation. And now, she’s excited to operate a new shelter, Little Rescues at Raccoon Crossing, on Guilford Public Works property.
The town is temporarily leasing the property to her. She has also received support from a local contractor, ENH Restoration LLC, which has offered to donate the roofs.
Demond has also initiated a GoFundMe campaign and people can contribute various building materials to help build the new shelter. “[People] can donate a piece of lumber or a window or a roll of wire or whatever,” Demond said.
Moreover, other community members have shown their support for the shelter as well.
So now, Demond is focusing on the future of her new rehabilitation facility. She wanted to care for baby animals.
She primarily cares for orphaned baby raccoons, bottle-feeding and caring for them until they’re ready to be released into the wild.
According to Demond, there aren’t many wildlife rehabilitators who specialize in animals that can carry rabies. Per state officials, there are only 15 specialists in Connecticut.
She ensures that the animals receive vaccinations for canine distemper, feline distemper, and rabies before release.