NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.—It was a busy Independence Day weekend for the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach, where scores of injured animals were treated for injuries resulting from panic-inducing fireworks.
Debbie McGuire, executive director of the center, told The Epoch Times that concern about domesticated animals being traumatized by fireworks is always in the headlines this time of year. However, the same holds true for animals in the wild who co-exist with nearby human neighbors.
“We’ve seen a flood of frightened wildlife that have been injured while trying to flee the blinding bright lights, intense noise, strange smells and air concussion of exploding fireworks,” McGuire said.
McGuire said the shock of fireworks can cause wild animals to flee or become disoriented. They often end up in unexpected areas such as roadways or in unusual circumstances, such as flying into windows or buildings, or abandoning nests.
Good Samaritans and authorities often give eyewitness accounts of animals’ behavior during fireworks. For example, immediately after an illegal firework went off in a Newport Coast neighborhood during the July 4 long weekend, a peregrine falcon hit a plate glass window flying at full speed, trying to escape a perceived enemy. McGuire said the falcon sustained a concussion but is expected to recover.
“We had a little black crowned Night Heron hatchling that was startled and fell out of its nest that passed away this morning,” McGuire said. “There’s been so many it’s hard to list them all, even baby opossums have been brought in when the mother gets frightened by loud fireworks and runs off and they can’t hold on.”
A Cooper’s hawk also fell victim to exploding fireworks that caused it to fly into a building in Anaheim, severely damaging its head. In the same area, a baby mallard duck was separated from its mother and made its way into a local retail shop. A similar incident in Tustin Ranch was reported when ducklings scattered and separated from their mother, who could not be located, were picked up and brought to the center.
A four-and-a-half pound gray fox startled by fireworks ran in front of a vehicle in Anaheim and while the driver heard the firework noise and braked upon seeing the fox dart on to the street, he did not realize he’d hit the animal until he got home and found she was lodged in the grate of the car, still alive.
The fox was rescued by Orange County Animal Control who stabilized the animal and then transported her to the care center for additional treatment. The blow left her with fractures to her femur, radius and ulna requiring additional surgery to place pins in the injured leg.
McGuire says the fox will need lengthy rehabilitation after the orthopedic surgery before she will be able to be returned to the wild.