On September 30, PAWS received a phone call about an injured Coyote on a piece of property about a mile away from our wildlife center.
Ordinarily, PAWS staff are unable to go out into the field to attempt to find and capture injured animals as we must focus our limited resources on the animals that are already in care. Nearly all of the patients that we receive are captured and brought to us by the people who find them, but a Coyote is not an animal that most members of the public feel comfortable approaching.
Fortunately, this phone call came at a time when two of our staff members did have a long enough window in their animal care duties to mount a rescue mission. Wildlife Admissions Specialist Cindy Kirkendall and Assistant Wildlife Rehabilitator Ashley Bobst successfully captured the Coyote and brought him back to the wildlife center.
When the Wildlife Rehabilitators and veterinary staff examined the Coyote, they discovered that he had a badly fractured right femur (largest bone in the hind leg). He had most likely suffered the injury when he was struck by a car. He also had some fur loss due to mange.
The Coyote was treated for mange, underwent surgery to pin the broken leg, and spent several weeks in a confined space to limit his movement and allow him to heal. As the leg healed he began to use it more and more. At first he had a severe limp, but that diminished with time.
On December 2, PAWS Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. John Huckabee, Rehabilitation Manager Dondi Byrne and I placed the Coyote in the wildlife center’s largest enclosure to assess his movement. He walked with only a very slight limp, and he ran and jumped beautifully. I began to plan his release.
The Coyote was released on December 15. Cindy, whose successful rescue mission with Ashley had brought the Coyote into our care, opened the door to set him free. Watching the Coyote bolt from the carrier and run down a wooded path next to the river, we could see no sign of lingering effects from his injury.
He stopped once and looked back at us before continuing down the trail. He paused again to snatch up and devour some morsel of food he discovered in his path before continuing around a bend and disappearing from our sight.