I first heard the chipmunk story from a friend, Fred Friedman. His wife Rochelle’s daughter, Deven Day, had recently moved to San Luis County from the Reno / Mount Rose area. One of the possessions she moved was a dresser. For two weeks, it sat where she had moved it, until she decided to put something in it. Lo and behold, she found four baby chipmunks alive in one of the drawers. Rochelle and Fred knew to call Pacific Wildlife Care, where on July 5, Rochelle delivered them.
One female was not doing well and was euthanized within 24 hours, but the other three, a male and two females, were determined to be about 3 weeks old and seemed fairly healthy, so all concerned assumed that the mother must have been transported with them. However, all attempts to trap any Merriam Chipmunk mother near the new home in San Luis Obispo were a failure.
Since Merriam Chipmunks live at high altitudes, 7,000-8,900 feet in fact, the staff at Pacific Wildlife Care knew we would need to release them back in the Tahoe region. On August 5th I saw an email request for a ride for these little mammals from Kathy Duncan, our small mammal expert. I wondered if Deven or her parents might know someone going that direction. I sent an email to Rochelle, just in case. Unfortunately, they didn’t.
However, just two days later she wrote back. As luck would have it—this time, good luck—Rochelle (a chef) had just done a wedding for a couple with a home in Tahoe / Incline Village, and they agreed to deliver the chippies back to their natural habitat, “just about where they were born.”
Of course, thanks for the successful release of the Merriam Chipmunks go to everyone who helped along the way: the Friedmans, their daughter, the staff and volunteers of Pacific Wildlife Care–especially Kathy Duncan, who took care of them the month of their care in San Luis County–and finally the wedding couple.
But of note is the fact that the baby chipmunks found their way into care (and finally release back into the wild) only because Fred and Rochelle knew about PWC, which they did through our friendship. This story with its happy ending is a reminder that all our volunteers and supporters need to talk to their friends about the work we do at Pacific Wildlife Care. We all need to get the word out. It can make a huge difference.