Our volunteer of the month is Bradley Wyatt, who has transported animals on countless occasions. Transportation is a crucial, and often an overlooked aspect of wildlife rehabilitation. Many times, an animal that has been found is already compromised-either from injuries, dehydration, shock or starvation. Getting them to a rehabilitator quickly can make the difference in whether or not they recover.
Transportation can be very stressful for wild animals and may further exacerbate their already vulnerable condition. A person who is transporting wildlife must make sure the animal is in an appropriate container, and not exposed to any additional stress from unnecessary noise or handling. Transporters also have to postpone making any stops until the animal is safely delivered.
Bradley has never hesitated to answer the call for help; he quickly responds to requests for transport and rescues. This summer, Bradley climbed down an abandoned well to rescue two snapping turtles that were trapped at the bottom. This required him to carefully dislodge them from the stones, dried mud, and old wooden beams at the bottom and carry them up a ladder and out of the well. After examining them with our turtle expert, Anne McAbee, and determining they were healthy enough to be on their own, Bradley took the turtles to a nearby release site that was safer for them.
On another rescue mission, Bradley climbed on top of a series of storage building to free a bird that had become tangled in some old landscaping material. Because of his efforts, the bird made a full recovery under the care of Sherry Teas, and was later released.
Bradley has also made numerous trips to and from Tullahoma, picking up and dropping off animals with our fellow rehabilitators at Ziggy’s Tree. He has also traveled to Raccoon Mountain, Signal Mountain, Ooltewah, Cleveland and everywhere in between pick up sick, orphaned and injured animals and take them where they need to go. In addition to songbirds and snapping turtles, Bradley has also transported ducks and ducklings, squirrels, opossums, rabbits, mice, hawks and owls. We are so thankful to Bradley for generously donating his time to help these animals get care as soon as possible.
Bradley also helps us with our fundraising events and setting up booths at various events. When he is not volunteering with Happinest, you may find him taking care of animals at the local animal shelter, kayaking or enjoying adventures with his dog, Wall-E.