Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital

Fellow Mortals is more than a place. It is a living philosophy based on the belief that encouraging compassion in humans toward all life brings out the finest aspects of our humanity. Fellow Mortals provides excellent medical care to injured and orphaned wild animals entrusted to the hospital by the public. Fellow Mortals continues to advance treatment for the most critically injured and compromised animals admitted for care, demonstrated by a continued high rate of recovery and release back to the wild. Fellow Mortals also attempts to limit the number of animals admitted for care each year by offering public education to prevent unnecessary injury and orphaning, thereby reducing the total n...
Oct 17, 2016

Aftermath of Trial

Blue Jay
Blue Jay

Our litigation to try to stop clear cutting of the easement at Fellow Mortals ended with the judge not granting our request.

We want you to know that your gift to help with legal fees to fight to Save the Sanctuary was not wasted.

Our Attorneys built a case that had never before been argued--one that focussed on what was best for wild animals in rehabilitation! Without any legal precedents, they argued a case unique to most attorneys' experience and they did it well.

Along with keeping people engaged with the issue on Facebook and our web site, over 105,000 people signed an online petition, 1,200 more signed paper petitions, people in local communities who read the newspaper or saw a television clip were educated about easements, learned about wildlife rehabilitation and found hope in seeing that people are still willing to stand up for what they believe.

Hope is a powerful force. Never lose hope.

All of us are disappointed with the Judge's ruling, but we believe he was constrained by the rules of law to decide as he did. Please do not blame him for this outcome. The outcome is the result of the easement that was written long ago-not the result of the Judge's interpretation of that easement.

Some of you may be angry. We are not. We are disappointed, but not discouraged. This defeat will not change who we are or what we do.

In practical matters--

First priority: We are making a plan to be able to move as many animals as possible inside the hospital for the time the clear cutting is scheduled. We understand that ATC will give us enough notice to do this. Former interns and staff and friends in the rehabilitation community will help when the time comes and can also provide temporary housing if necessary.

Second priority: We need to raise funds for wildlife care and operating expenses for the coming months. All of our fundraising efforts this year have been for legal fees and we are in debt to our suppliers. Cash donations are quite desperately needed at this time: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/fellow-mortals-wildlife-hospital/

Third priority: Finding a way to replace the privacy, security and noise buffering of the mature spruce and walnuts and other small trees and vegetation that are removed from the easement area.

1. The use of the inside areas at Fellow Mortals-the hospital, critical care areas and waterfowl habitats are not affected by the clear cutting. We can continue to provide critical care on site.

2. The use of the outdoor habitats at Fellow Mortals--pre-flights, mammal habitats, deer habitat, etc. is affected. We will be discussing various options after we get past the clear cutting.

Once we have a plan for the outdoor habitats, we can tell you whether there is a way for you to help make this possible.

If you are interested in helping to restore habitat in the coming months and year, you can send an e-mail to yvonne@fellowmortals.org.

Thank you so much for the part you played in bringing an important issue to the attention of people worldwide.


Aug 11, 2016

Saving the Sanctuary that Saves Wildlife

Supporters at Court
Supporters at Court

Wild birds and mammals who have recovered from critical injuries and spent sometimes months in care spend the final weeks of rehabilitation in the safety, quiet and natural environment outside the hospital, where large trees and dense undergrowth at the front of the Sanctuary shield them from traffic noise and potential harm from people passing by on the road that runs in front of the Sanctuary.  This peace, quiet and safety is threatened with destruction by American Transmission Co. (ATC), which wants to save time and money by cutting everything down once and for all in a 450 foot long path along the front of the Sanctuary--rather than trimming the trees every few years and letting them stand, as has been done since 1970.

If we cannot save the trees and vegetation in the easement, the outdoor flights and habitats will not be safe for wildlife and will become unusable.  Other wildlife facilities have had their permanent education animals stolen and have had wildlife in care injured or killed, which is why we have done everything we can to create a visual and sound barrier for the Sanctuary where wildlife are housed prior to release.

Thanks to the support of our community and people nationwide who have signed our online petition, on July 29, 2016 Fellow Mortals' rehabilitators were present in Court to hear the Judge grant our request for an injunction to stop American Transmission Co. (ATC) from clear cutting the trees and vegetation from the utilities easement.

American Transmission Co. (ATC) had asked the Judge to dismiss Fellow Mortals' request for a temporary restraining order, but the Judge ruled in our favor, and we were allowed to move to a hearing on the evidence.

The Temporary Restraining Order will stand for 90 days.

Our attorneys were wonderful and this achievement was not anticipated by ATC.  The hearing was attended by over 50 supporters, who packed the courtroom, and wore badges that said "Battered, Bruised but Unbroken."

On August 10, a scheduling conference and bond hearing was held.  ATC requested a $1,100,000 bond of Fellow Mortals.  The Judge entered a bond for $108,000.  A four-day trial is set to begin October 10.

ATC wants to make sure they are protected if anything happens while the injunction is in place, and continue to mention "FIRE."  You may remember that Fellow Mortals received a phone call threatening fire, that Sal Dimiceli, long-time supporter of Fellow Mortals and founder of the charity A Time is Now to Help (www.thetimeisnowtohelp.org) received a phone call threatening Fellow Mortals' animals if we did not go along with ATC's demands--and that an ATC employee brought up fire on the stand when he was being questioned in front of the Judge on July 29.

While we have had three victories, we have a long way to go to win and ATC is going to do everything they can to try to stop us.  We feel confident we can prevail and set a precedent that will help others who face similar battles in the future, but we need your help.

The community support we have received locally, regionally and beyond has been what is keeping us strong.  We are so very grateful for each and every one of the 85,000 people who has taken the time to sign our petition, make a donation or say a prayer.  We have raised $20,000 for legal fees so far, but we need to raise much more.

American Transmission Co. (ATC) will fight hard to defeat Fellow Mortals, because they know that if we win, it will help others to protect wildlife, wildlife habitat and property rights in the future.

FACTS:  Clear-cutting or 'vegetation management' to remove 'incompatible species' is NOT required by state or federal law.  Clear-cutting is a company policy, a company choice--that abuses easements to the detriment of the people who live on the property where transmission lines are placed.

The lines in the easement at Fellow Mortals are 138 kV, relatively low voltage.  The lines have not changed since 1970, and the easement for the lines has been maintained by trimming trees for the last 46 years.  Experts have told us that reliability and safety of the electric lines can be maintained by continuing trimming as has been done in the past.  Clear cutting is not necessary.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) did not require an Environmental Impact Survey before approving the applicaiton of ATC and other companies to institute their 'vegetation management' plan in 2013, stating that it did not anticipate any change from past practice--which was trimming.  You can read more here:  http://www.ferc.gov/industries/electric/indus-act/reliability/vegetation-mgt.asp

ATC stated in court that it intends to 'remove incompatible vegetation'--that is clear cut--under its 9,440 miles of lines--it just hasn't gotten to all of them yet.   In that case, an Environmental Impact Survey must be performed.

We are coming to you, our supporters, to ask you to consider making a generous one-time gift to Save the Sanctuary that Saves Wildlife.   https://www.globalgiving.org/microprojects/save-the-trees-save-the-sanctuary-fellow-mortals/

A gift to help in this fight will not only help the wild animals who are currently at Fellow Mortals; it will help those who need us in years to come--and, very importantly, your gift will help us set a precedent that can be used to protect wildlife and wildlife habitat nationwide when the case is cited as a precedent in the future.

This Norway Spruce is over 100 years old
This Norway Spruce is over 100 years old
Alberta, 36, lives permanently in the Sanctuary
Alberta, 36, lives permanently in the Sanctuary


Jul 19, 2016

Kaleigh to the Rescue!

Kaleigh with fledgling merlin
Kaleigh with fledgling merlin

Just like every new patient, this young Merlin's story involves some special people.

Kaleigh Lound arrived at Fellow Mortals to start her internship just ahead of the many injured and orphaned baby birds that were to follow her.  A recent graduate of Grand Valley State University, Kaleigh moved to Wisconsin from Michigan for a nearly year-long wildlife internship.  We couldn't be happier to have her with us!

Kaleigh's normal day starts before 8 a.m. and ends around 10 p.m.--baby birds require frequent feedings that start at sunrise and continue until dark.  Between feedings, Kaleigh mixes formula, cleans incubators, washes syringes and helps with admitting new patients.  While every intern and staff member looks forward to days off and sleeping in, Kaleigh is willing to help even on her days off--including going on rescues when a caller may be elderly, disabled, or without a vehicle.

A couple of weeks ago, we got a call about a bird that had been on the ground all day in the hot sun.  We routinely ask people alot of questions when they call, and sometimes ask for pictures to help us assess a situation, as we never want to take a healthy baby away from its parents. 

Once we saw pictures of the Merlin, we knew it was a young bird but not so young it shouldn't be off the ground, and needed to come into care.  The woman who noticed the bird couldn't leave her elderly mother to bring it to us, however, so enter Kaleigh!  We asked the woman to place a laundry basket over the bird until Kaleigh could get to it.  Laundry baskets are handy because they provide protection from predator-attack and the elements, while keeping the injured animal from leaving the area until it can be helped.

Kaleigh was able to retrieve the bird easily, thanks to the woman following our instructions.  Back at the hospital, we examined the Merlin and found old injuries to both wings--probably caused when it first left the nest.  He was a little thin, a little dehydrated, but the wounds would heal.

Two weeks later, the young fledgling has lost most of his baby down, and is in that 'awkward' teenage phase.  He is also eating like a teenager as he finished growing in his first set of feathers!

Once the Merlin is at the age he would normally leave his parents, and has learned to hunt, he will be released--a happy ending made possible by the woman who cared enough to call, and by Kaleigh, who took the time to help.

Weighing in
Weighing in
Why am I here?
Why am I here?
That awkward age...
That awkward age...



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