All posts by David Angerstein

A Promising Start: Reflecting on Our Inaugural Wildlife Rehabilitation Training

On November 11th, we embarked on an inspiring journey into the world of wildlife rehabilitation with our first-ever beginners’ training event. The turnout was heartwarming, and the engagement was profound as we delved into the delicate art and science of wildlife care.

The day was rich with learning, starting with a comprehensive session on intake and assessment protocols. Participants were given a detailed walkthrough of the initial steps involved in wildlife rehabilitation, setting the stage for what would be a deeply educational experience. We explored the nuances of capture, handling, and transport, crucial skills for ensuring the safety and well-being of both the animals and the rehabilitators.

Maintenance care was a major focus, where attendees learned the day-to-day requirements of different species in rehabilitation. The participants were introduced to the principles of beginning homeopathic medicine, an area of growing interest in wildlife care. We dived into the preparation and administration of remedies like Arnica, known for its properties to reduce trauma, Calendula for healing wounds, Bach’s Rescue Remedy for stress relief, and Hypericum for nerve pain.

Perhaps the most touching aspect of the day was the presence of young, eager faces, some of whom I recognized as my former veterinary students. Their familiar enthusiasm brought a wave of nostalgia and a renewed sense of hope for the future of wildlife rehabilitation. It was a vivid reminder of the continuous cycle of learning and teaching, and the importance of passing on knowledge to the next generation of wildlife caretakers.

As we wrapped up our session, the air was filled with a collective sense of accomplishment and anticipation for future trainings. The path forward for these novice rehabilitators is bright, and the dedication they have shown promises great strides in the care and conservation of wildlife.

For those who couldn’t join us but are interested in becoming a part of this rewarding field, more information is readily available. I encourage you to visit our website and click on the training tab at the top of the page to sign up and learn more about our upcoming sessions.

Together, we’re not just training rehabilitators; we’re nurturing the growth of a community dedicated to the noble cause of wildlife preservation. Join us in this mission, and be a part of a movement that nurtures both the wild we aim to protect and the human spirit that drives our conservation efforts.

Conservation, Collaboration, and Community: Deep Dive into the Chihuahuan Desert Conference at El Paso Zoo

The El Paso Zoo recently transformed into a nexus of environmental dialogue and collaboration, playing host to the Chihuahuan Desert Conference. This gathering brought together passionate individuals and experts from various fields, all united in their mission to conserve the wildlife and habitats of the Chihuahuan Desert. The week-long event was a deep well of knowledge, brimming with educational presentations, heartfelt discussions, and interactive exhibits.

John Sproul, the curator of Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, set the stage with a fascinating foray into the world of the American Beaver. His session wasn’t just a tracking of their patterns; it was an intimate portrayal of their vital role in the ecosystem. Sproul’s dedication to studying these creatures helps highlight the intricate web of life within the wetlands, a cornerstone in the larger conservation narrative.

Perhaps the most poignant topic was the plight and hope of the Mexican Grey Wolf. The conference detailed the species’ historical journey, from the brink of extinction to the current efforts to reintroduce pups into the wild. It was a saga of survival, fraught with challenges such as genetics, human-wildlife conflict, and legal battles. Yet, the resolve of conservationists shone through, a beacon of hope for this emblematic predator of the desert.

An urgent discussion followed on the controversial border wall and its effects on wildlife migration. The wall, a structure with significant political and social implications, was scrutinized from an ecological perspective. The presenters proposed innovative surveillance technologies as alternatives to the physical barrier, which could provide security without disrupting the natural movements of wildlife, particularly large predators like mountain lions and bobcats.

The conference also cast a light on the lesser-known impact of light pollution on avian migration patterns. With nocturnal skies becoming increasingly bright, migratory birds face disorientation and peril. Solutions were offered, including the adoption of bird-friendly lighting and public education, emphasizing the need for balance between human needs and wildlife preservation.

Heather Rivera from the El Paso Zoo captivated attendees with the introduction of her education ambassador animals. “BuckBeak” the Swainsons Hawk and “Archimedes” the Great Horned Owl were not just presented as exhibits but as living stories, connecting the audience to the broader theme of conservation through their individual tales of rescue and rehabilitation.

The conservation efforts for the Mexican Long Nosed Bat were particularly stirring. The community-engagement initiative to grow agave plants symbolizes a hands-on approach to conservation, linking the survival of a species to community action. This initiative not only aids in the bat’s recovery but also serves to educate the public on the importance of each species’ survival for the health of the ecosystem.

Beyond the formal agenda, the conference was a hive of informal learning and networking. Breaks and lunches turned into spontaneous think tanks, where attendees from different backgrounds shared ideas and forged alliances. The El Paso Zoo provided the perfect backdrop for these exchanges, its own transformation into a more conservation-focused institution mirroring the aspirations of the conference.

The event concluded on a hopeful note, with many participants, myself included, adopting agave plants to raise. It was a commitment, a promise to contribute personally to the recovery of the Mexican Long Nosed Bat, and a testament to the power of collective action.

Looking ahead, the Chihuahuan Desert Conference left an indelible mark on all who attended. It was not just an event but a call to action, a reminder that each of us holds the power to effect change for the betterment of our planet. As the anticipation for the next conference builds, so does the determination to continue these vital conversations and actions for the preservation of our natural world. Go to to find out more information on our beautiful desert and upcoming related events.

The Vital Role of Wildlife Rehabilitation in Our Community

As our communities grow, change, and evolve, so do our interactions with the natural world. Urban expansion, pollution, and other human-made factors can significantly impact our local wildlife. While these changes can be challenging for wildlife, our responsibility as stewards of the land is to ensure that these creatures are taken care of. This is where the importance of wildlife rehabilitation comes into play.

Why is Wildlife Rehabilitation Essential?

Wildlife rehabilitation is the care and treatment of injured, orphaned, or sick wild animals with the goal of releasing them back into the wild. These animals often come into harm’s way due to various reasons, including collisions with vehicles, window strikes, habitat loss, or human-wildlife conflict. In such cases, timely and specialized care can mean the difference between life and death.

Furthermore, wildlife rehabilitation not only serves the animals but our community as well. By helping to maintain balanced ecosystems, we protect the biodiversity that is crucial for a healthy environment. The ripple effects of this work extend to the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat.

The Urgent Need for New Rehabilitators and Volunteers

As the demand for wildlife care continues to rise, there is an increasing need for trained rehabilitators and volunteers. These individuals are often the unsung heroes, working tirelessly behind the scenes to care for our area’s injured and orphaned wildlife.

However, becoming a rehabilitator is not just about passion. Proper training is essential to ensure the safe and effective treatment of wildlife. This is why we are reaching out to those in our community who feel the call to this noble profession.

Upcoming Training Sessions

We’re excited to announce a series of training sessions designed for individuals at every level:

  • Beginners: November 11 and February 3
  • Intermediate: January 20 and April 6
  • Advanced: June 15

Each session will provide hands-on experience, knowledge from seasoned professionals, and insights into the challenges and rewards of wildlife rehabilitation. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to hone your skills further, there’s a class tailored to your needs.

Join Us in Making a Difference

Wildlife rehabilitation is more than just a profession or a hobby—it’s a calling. It’s a commitment to preserving our natural world for future generations. By joining this community, you become part of a bigger mission, one that has tangible benefits for our environment and its inhabitants.

If you’ve ever felt the urge to make a positive impact, now is the time to act. Sign up for our training sessions and embark on a journey that promises not only personal fulfillment but also a brighter future for our wildlife.

Sign up and learn about new training opportunities on our Training page by clicking the Training tab at the top of the page

The Marvelous Kangaroo Rats of West Texas

Kangaroo Rat Day 1

West Texas, with its sprawling landscapes and unique biodiversity, is home to a variety of intriguing creatures. Among them is the resilient and ever-fascinating kangaroo rat.

What are Kangaroo Rats?

Despite their name, kangaroo rats are not related to kangaroos. They are rodents, uniquely adapted to the arid environments of the American Southwest, including West Texas. With their large hind legs, small front legs, and long tails, they are exceptional jumpers and can cover considerable distances in search of food or when evading predators, much like kangaroos.

Ecosystem Role

Kangaroo rats are vital in the West Texas ecosystem:

  1. Soil Enrichment: Their burrowing habits not only provide them with shelter but also assist in aerating the soil. This aids in water penetration, which is crucial in arid regions, and promotes the growth of local vegetation.
  2. Seed Predators and Distributors: Their primary diet consists of seeds. While they consume many, they also stash away a significant amount. Many of these buried seeds germinate, leading to new plant growth.
  3. Prey Base: As a primary food source for various predators like owls, snakes, and coyotes, kangaroo rats are essential for maintaining the balance in the local food web.

A Tale of Rehabilitation

Recently, we had a special guest at our rehabilitation center – a young kangaroo rat. It was a privilege to witness its recovery, from a vulnerable state to its agile and lively self. After ensuring its complete health and safety, the moment arrived for its return to the wild. The feeling of watching it hop back into its natural surroundings, with the vast West Texas horizon as the backdrop, was truly unparalleled. For us, it symbolized hope, resilience, and the beauty of second chances.

In Conclusion

The kangaroo rat is not just another inhabitant of West Texas; it is an embodiment of the region’s spirit – rugged, resilient, and beautiful. Through our work at the rehabilitation center, we aim to champion the cause of these incredible creatures and countless others, reminding everyone of the interconnectedness of life and the wonders of our shared ecosystem.

Successful Release

Exciting New Beginnings at Second Chance Wildlife Rescue

Hello, dear readers! I’m Dr. David Angerstein, and I’m thrilled to be writing this post, sharing the wonderful transformations happening at the Second Chance Wildlife Rescue.

Change, as they say, is the only constant, and the winds of change have brought about fresh energy, new perspectives, and renewed passion to our wildlife center. We are experiencing a renaissance, and I am genuinely excited to be a part of this evolution.

A Glimpse of What’s Coming

  1. Regular Updates and Reflections: Our center hosts numerous events, trainings, and workshops, focusing on wildlife care, conservation, and awareness. Through this blog, we promise to keep you updated on these activities, sharing insights and learnings from each one of them.
  2. Success Stories: One of the most heartwarming aspects of our job is witnessing the successful release of rehabilitated animals back into their natural habitats. We will be documenting these touching moments and sharing them with you, celebrating every little victory in the world of wildlife preservation.
  3. Knowledge Sharing: Knowledge grows when shared. We are privileged to be connected with a community of passionate individuals, including educators, biologists, veterinarians, and fellow rehab centers. We’ll be hosting guest posts, interviews, and articles by these experts, bringing you diverse perspectives and deeper understanding of wildlife and their world.

Why This Matters To Me

Joining the Second Chance Wildlife Rescue wasn’t just a professional choice for me; it was a heartfelt decision. Wildlife has always held a special place in my heart, and being at the helm of changes at a place that shares this sentiment is both an honor and responsibility.

We’re not just rehabilitating animals here; we’re also nurturing a community. A community that cares for the environment, understands the importance of every living creature, and is committed to making a tangible difference.

Join Our Journey

I invite you to join us in this journey of discovery, learning, and celebration. The path of wildlife rehabilitation is filled with challenges, but it also brings unparalleled joy and satisfaction. And through this blog, we hope to share a piece of that joy with you.

Remember, every creature deserves a second chance, and together, we can ensure they get it. Stay tuned for more updates, stories, and knowledge sharing. Here’s to a brighter future, both for us and for the wonderful wildlife we serve!

Warmly, Dr. David Angerstein