Anne Hunter, Wave Hill’s Forest Project Manager, provided this post. The Forest Project Summer Collaborative is a paid ecological-restoration internship for teens.
This week, the fabulous arborists from Riverdale Tree Service who maintain our magnificent tree collection—Gerry and Sal—rescued five, two-month-old baby squirrels. The youngsters had been living in the spectacular, but hollow, Linden tree (Tilia americana) outside Wave Hill House. This stunning, approximately 110-year-old tree had become hazardous, and sadly had to be removed from the grounds. Gerry and Sal discovered the squirrels after the babies had taken a traumatizing ride to the ground when the main trunk was felled. With no mama in sight, they carefully placed the youngsters in a box lined with woodchips and leaves.
Wave Hill Education and Visitor Services staff jumped into action to care for the homeless young squirrels, sheltering them until a wildlife veterinarian could be contacted. By the end of the day, the squirrels were safely transported for care. They will be weaned, and then placed in an outdoor nest for a “soft release.”
Do not attempt to raise or keep wildlife. Seemingly abandoned young birds and mammals may be retrieved by parents—give them a chance to do so while keeping dogs and cats away. Wild animals should only be confined as long as they need assistance, and then properly released. If you do find an injured or orphaned animal, it is important to contact a legal wildlife specialist as soon as possible.
Seeing young squirrels up close was an amazing, unforgettable educational experience!