US wildlife finds inner-city foster home

  • 15/06/2016
US wildlife finds inner-city foster home

Most people see a skunk in their backyard, and they do whatever they can to get rid of it. Jamie Ray sees one and she says "come to mama".

"Wild animals are amazing to me. They have such a hard time existing among us. I just have a soft spot in my heart."

Skunks, opossums, raccoons, squirrels -- San Francisco has no facility for them so Ms Ray takes them -- into her backyard, more specifically.

"Sadly, San Francisco is one of the only counties in the Bay Area that doesn't have a wildlife care facility."

So she runs the Rescue of Orphaned Mammal Program, where the city's Animal Care and Control brings such orphans.

"Skunks are very gentle. You leave them alone, they'll leave you alone."

That's good advice because when the orphaned babies get old enough she'll be releasing them back into the city. It's the law with all wildlife -- if they are trapped they aren't supposed to be killed or released elsewhere.

"It's an amazing experience to have an up-close and personal experience with wildlife."

Even if it's with squirrels, which is why Lila Travis is a squirrel foster mum -- several young and injured ones share her backyard with a couple of chickens.

"There are very few people who see them as anything but tree rats. They see them in that light. And my passion is to change that," Ms Travis says.

She finds them fascinating and rather cute.

Every San Francisco neighbourhood has wildlife, whether the humans like it or not. These volunteers see themselves as the animal's advocates in a city that is not always welcoming. You might see them as pests, but they see them as neighbours.

CBS News