BLOOMINGTON, Ind.– Lily the beaver was found alongside a road near Fort Wayne, her mother the victim of a car. She was only about 3 weeks old.
Luckily for Lily, a kind human picked her up, and she was soon taken to WildCare Inc., the wildlife rehabilitation facility on Hartstrait Road, west of Bloomington.
That was a year ago, and now, Lily is half grown, at about 20 pounds.
Beavers are dependent upon their parents and siblings for the first two years of life, since they have no body fat for warmth until they are fully grown.
At WildCare, Lily lives in a large pen, with a horse trough as a pond. When her volunteer caregivers place sticks in the water, Lily takes them out and has assembled them into a hut, where she sleeps.
WildCare gives names only to animals that don’t have a future in the wild. Lily, sadly, has metabolic bone disease, which has resulted in a bad hip joint. When she’s fully grown, at about 40 pounds, she may have problems walking. Wildcare’s mammal veterinarian made that determination, said Jennifer Cunningham, general manager of WildCare and Lily’s care coordinator.
"We are trying to find a sanctuary, a zoo or another rehabilitation center that has more room and more staff, where she can become a permanent resident," Cunningham told The Herald-Times (http://bit.ly/Zp1VKM), noting that WildCare expects to keep her for another year.
WildCare has taken in several other beavers, but they had respiratory infections and didn’t make it, Cunningham said. Lily is WildCare’s first beaver to survive, and thrive.
"She eats water lilies, all kinds of water vegetation, wood, willow, oak, red maple, and she loves river birch," she said. Several private land owners regularly deliver freshly cut tree stems, which WildCare volunteers and Lily appreciate very much.
She also loves broccoli, cauliflower and fruit, Cunningham said. And she gets a ration of rodent chow.
Cunningham said Lily is a lot of work, requiring fresh water every day in her trough, and near-constant human interaction, so she can stay busy as ... well, you know.