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Some of Our Successes

Every year Utopia releases animals and birds of all kinds, and we'd love to share some of our favorite stories with you. About 98% of the animals we receive are the direct result of the impact of people, their pets and the way they live, and we like to think that we're evening the score a little.


Did you hear about Utopia's resident celebrity Turkey Vulture?

Early last summer we started getting phone calls about a turkey vulture that was terrorizing a local trailer park. This errant bird was hanging around and approaching people, particularly children. When it got within range of an individual, it would untie their shoelaces, or simply follow them. People were understandably alarmed, and panicked, thinking the bird would attack. We explained that this was not typical vulture behavior, that they were smart and gentle birds, and that it had probably been raised illegally by someone who “imprinted” it.

A Much Happier Squirrel

This sad squirrel came to us this spring suffering from both mange and pneumonia. After treatment for both, he's ready for release!

Mange is a frequent problem among our local squirrels, and is often passed from squirrel to squirrel at bird feeders.

Two Timer

This fellow came to us with a broken humerus early in 2012 after he'd been hit by a car on a country road. He made a full recovery, was released back into his original habitat, and was brought to us six months later, a victim of secondary rat poisoning. We recognized him because of a characteristic toe on one foot.  Apparently, a local farmer had been aggressively poisoning rats on his property and "two timer" (so-called because he'd been back to us twice) had eaten a poisoned mouse or rat. We were fortunate to have gotten him in time, and he was saved. He's been released in another area, and hopefully is going to live a long, happy life. Stay out of trouble, Buddy!


Red Screech Owls

Here are two little guys that came to us in early 2013. Both were hit by cars, and both had concussions from head trauma. They've both recovered from their injuries, and are good friends. When the weather warms up, we'll release them together in proven habitat far away from traffic. Here they are hanging out together.

Below is a picture of Dan Troglin, our release team leader, sending one of these guys back home. Both were released together.

Baby Screech Owls

Each year, Utopia receives dozens of babies of all species from Bartholomew and many surrounding counties. This year is no exception. This guy is the lone survivor of a nest of babies which was blown from a tree in a severe storm. He was critically injured and dehydrated, and was placed with our foster Screech Owls who raise our Screech Owl babies. They teach him all he must know to be wild: hunting, social interaction, and appropriate fear of humans.​ He has been released back into his habitat. 

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