It is no secret that Earthquakes defender Marvell Wynne loves animals. Although known as a cat fan, his love for animals is not limited to felines. The defender grew up with lizards, cats, dogs and other animals close by.
Last Thursday, Wynne channeled his love for animals with a visit to the Lindsay Wildlife Experience, a wildlife exhibit and animal hospital located in Walnut Creek.
“Our mission is to connect people with wildlife to inspire responsibility and respect for the world that we share,” Lizzie Coyle, development director at the Lindsay Wildlife Experience, said. “We connect children, families and schools with live wild animals and we can also teach children about how everyday choices that we make with our families, our lives and our workplaces can improve the world and for animals and people.”
The day filled with behind the scenes access started off with a tour of the exhibit, where Wynne learned about birds of prey. This barn owl and great gray owl were just two of many real-life raptors on display, and shortly after Wynne got to know one of them on a much closer level.
Shadow is one of the few remaining great gray owls in North America, as there is an estimated 100-200 left in the wild. She joined Lindsay Wildlife after she injured her wing and now is unable to fly to full capacity. She survives with care provided at Lindsay.
Quite notably, Shadow can turn her head a full 360 degrees because she has 14 neck bones. Owls cannot move their eyes, so they see what is happening around them by moving their necks.
Wynne also got quite close to a Swainson's hawk, Oden, who is blind in one eye after being hit by a car.
After meeting the birds, it was time to meet a four-legged furry friend: a porcupine named Penelope.
“My favorite part of this whole experience was petting a porcupine for the fist time,” Wynne said. “It was pretty cool and I did not think they would be so soft. That was awesome.”
Although porcupines do have sharp, thick quills, they are deep underneath their fur making them surprisingly soft to touch.
After hanging out with Penelope for a little bit, it was time to see the animal hospital. Lindsay receives about 6,000 wild animals each year at their animal hospital, particularly during the spring and early summer. Of those 6,000 patients, about 50 percent will eventually be released back into the wild.
A stop in the feeding room showed extent of diverse animals that the hospital receives, as they have more than 50 types of food ready for patients. Although the same species, birds in particular need their food to be prepared in a certain way. Photographic diagrams showed how each type of bird needs their food to be presented.
The last stop in the tour was in the treatment room. As wildlife rehabilitation hospital technician Marcia Metzler checked the progress on a distressed barn owl with an injured toe, Wynne learned about the rehabilitation process and common threats to wildlife.
The checkup went well for the fortunate owl, as the swelling in his foot had decreased and he showed signs of being healthy enough to return to the wild soon.
The Lindsay Wildlife Experience located at 1931 First Ave. in Walnut Creek, is able to serve the animals with the help of more than 400 volunteers. For more information about the Lindsay Wildlife Experience, visit lindsaywildlife.org.