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San Francisco's Orphaned, Injured Wildlife Find Refuge With Residents

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- In San Francisco, trapped and injured critters often have no place to go. But one woman is taking the matter into her own hands and has created a safe haven for wildlife.

Most people see a skunk in their backyard and do whatever they can to get rid of it.

Jamie Ray sees one and says, come to mama.

Ray runs the San Francisco Rescue of Orphaned Mammal Program, or SF ROMP for short. It's where the city's Animal Care and Control brings wildlife orphans.

Skunks. Opossums. Raccoons. Squirrels. The city has no facility for them. So Ray takes them into her home or more specifically, her backyard.

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

She said she finds wild animals amazing.

"They have such a hard time existing among us," Ray said.

While handling young skunks, Ray explained, "Skunks are very gentle. You leave them alone, they'll leave you alone."

When her baby, orphaned skunks get old enough, she'll be releasing them back into the city.

That's the law with all wildlife. If they are trapped, they aren't supposed to be killed or released elsewhere.

Lila Travis is a squirrel foster mom for SF ROMP. Several young and injured ones share her Potrero Hill 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," Travis said.

She finds them fascinating, and rather cute.

These volunteers see themselves as the animals' advocates in a city that is not always welcoming.

You might see them as pests. They see them as neighbors.


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