Northern Michigan in Focus: The Association to Rescue Kritters New Book

When should you step in to help a wild animal, and when should you let it be?

The folks at ARK, the Association to Rescue Kritters, in Roscommon County have written a book to help clear up those questions.

“It’s a book to try to educate kids about wildlife and about what to do if you find wildlife, what to do and not do, what things need help and what things don’t, because are so many things that end up at the ARK, at our wildlife rehab center, that don’t need to be here and it’s because people don’t know,” explained Ruth Fruehauf, ARK founder and author.

Most of us have seen it at one time or another, a baby animal that we think has been left by its parents. Then we do the worst thing we could do for the baby: touch it.

“There are so many times that they’re picking up fledgling birds. If the mom and dad are trying to teach you to fly and people don’t realize that, they are literally kidnapping that baby bird to bring it into a rehab,” said Ruth “There is a lot of information in there that will be helpful.”

That’s is the whole idea behind the book Rascal and the Berry Bandit: Tales from the ARK.

It’s a collection of stories told through the eyes of a raccoon about what to do if you find a baby animal in the woods.

“When I started volunteering here, I realize there was a wrong way and a right way to do it. Primarily, the wrong way’s when somebody finds an animal, the first thing they do is they try to feed it something. Generally it’s milk, cow’s milk, which can kill them pretty quickly, and so it’s important for them to understand that,” explained Kathy Hedrich, ARK volunteer and author.

Illustrator Kim Diment says, “There are certain things that just aren’t going to be rehabbed very well, and you’re kind of issuing them a death warrant by taking them out of their natural surroundings and not letting Mom come back and find them.”

Sometimes, doing nothing is the most compassionate thing you can do.

“It allows me to put stories out there that all have messages, leave the fawns in the woods, don’t take them out until you have talked to an adult or rehab. Let them make the decision, because the does don’t stay with fawns. There’s just enough information in there to make it entertaining, educational and something that will hopefully cause the kids and the adults to work together towards a positive outcome. Whatever the animal is they’re trying to help: don’t touch it get an adult,” said Ruth.

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