By Julie D’Costa


wildlifeThere is a Wild Bunch in the Lakeside area that you will want to know about. These are intelligent folks, keenly observant and well -informed. They are also well connected and work closely with officials at the state and federal levels.

These folks are the Lakeside Wildlife Rescue team and their mission is twofold: to rescue, rehabilitate and release wild animals that get into trouble; and to educate the local community on the value and importance of protecting our local fauna, whether on the endangered list or not. They have what amounts to a small zoo, where they nurture and care for displaced and injured animals until they can be rehabilitated and released back into the wild.

They work with all kinds of animals: birds of all kinds including falcons and eagles; local indigenous animals such as deer, possums, skunks, raccoons, foxes, an armadillo, iguanas, coati mundis, and a magnificent ocelot that was released some time ago; a wild boar; snakes of all kinds – from the ubiquitous and indigenous corn snakes to a seven foot python; alligators and turtles; and scorpions from all over the world.

They have a significant impact on the community. As part of their mission of educating the public, they take their menagerie to the people - wherever they may be. They can be found at the most unlikely places: in school classrooms, at public functions like the Chili Cookoff, at the Lake Chapala Society, and on street corners.

They come with cages, boxes, perches and pools filled with all sorts of critters of all shapes and sizes, colors and varieties. And they provide a unique opportunity for all of us to see and touch animals that ordinarily we would rarely if ever encounter in the course of our normal lives:

In these situations, they are aided by the innate curiosity of all of us to see and touch our fellow wild creatures. Imagine you are walking along the malecon in Chapala and come across this menagerie in front of city hall. What kinds of reactions might you see?

A very small portion of people turn and walk away. The vast majority are drawn to the scene with a sense of wonder and awe. They are drawn by the opportunity to experience the animals first hand and many feel compelled to experience the animals through touch.

This is how attitudes are changed.

Education is so important for all of us. You may not know that in Mexico it is a federal crime to possess, transport, buy, sell, or kill any wild animal that is considered endemic, under special protection, threatened, or in danger of extinction, or to otherwise cause damage to the genetic pool.Depending upon the species involved, penalties are: 1 to 9 years in prison, as well as fines up to $2,341,000.00 pesos (approximately $200,000 USD), as well as possible deportation for non-Mexican citizens. Tough measures if you ask me. However, given that many endemic species are in serious trouble or in danger of extinction, one can understand their position.

The Lakeside Wildlife Rescue team is made up of 100% volunteers. No one receives a penny. They rely exclusively on donations for food, medicine and care of animals, for cages, flyers, bumper stickers, and signs.

So the next time you see the Lakeside Wildlife Rescue crew and their wonderful critters, go up close and experience the wonder of our natural wildlife. You will be glad you did.

Pin It
The Dark Side Of The Dream By Alejandro Grattan-Dominguez, Arte Publico Press 434 pages $11.95 US Reviewed by ROB MOHR (Initially published in The
Wondrous Wildlife By Vern and Lori Gieger Wild, Exotic or Domestic?   After a recent educational event we were sitting around chatting with friends,
LETTING THE GARDEN GROW WILD By Michael Hogan   is something we do in alternate years: bougainvillea branching up over the roof violet
2010 Issues December 2010     November 2010    October 2010    September 2010   August
The Ghosts Among Us By Fred Mittag Catherine the Great (1729-1796)   Catherine was both a lusty and a brilliant woman. She excelled in all her
Wordwise With Pithy Wit By Tom Clarkson   This morning, my pal F.T. – who shared the Iraq experience with me during my third trek there – forwarded
LAKESIDE LIVING Kay Davis Phone: 376 – 108 – 0278 (or 765 – 3676 to leave messages) Email: November
Front Row Center By Michael Warren    The Pajama Game By Richard Adler and Jerry Ross Directed by Peggy Lord Chilton Music directed
Every Word  Important By Herbert W. Piekow   Every word a writer writes has meaning yes, sometimes they never get published or the book
  VICTORIA SCHMIDT   Column: Editor’s Page   Website:   Victoria Schmidt came to Mexico with her husband, in 2007. 
 Find us on Facebook