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PROWLS cares for emaciated heron


Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society received a call from Lund Water Taxi about a young heron down on the rocks for at least three days. The heron was mostly sitting in the shallow water at the edge of the trees.

Too young to know better and very weak, it allowed PROWLS president Merrilee Prior to herd it further under the trees. An older heron would have immediately flown or paddled away.

Now, with a rescuer up on the bank holding a big net to prevent it from going any further, Merrilee, wading slowly through the waters, was able to grab the heron firmly by the head and then the body. A heron’s long beak is incredibly fast and extremely dangerous. As Merrilee backed out of the rocky waters, she noticed the heron was extremely thin.

Once back at PROWLS, she fed the young bird a special formula through a long tube. It was then temporarily placed outside in an enclosed shelter, then moved indoors with a heat lamp for rest and continued feeding and observation.

An exam by Dr. Barnes at Westview Veterinary Hospital found no wounds or broken bones, just emaciation.

The next day, the heron made the trip from Westview Terminal to Little River Terminal on BC Ferries for to further attention at MARS Wildlife Rescue Hospital in Merville, where they noticed small flat lumps under the skin, all over the body. Even with the attentive care of MARS rehabilitators, though, she didn’t recover.

There is a point of no return in the starvation process. It is always hard.