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Past News Stories


Two Trapped Javelinas: A Very Technical Rescue Story

Rescuer Gandalf creates a pulley system to help leverage the javelinas out of the basement

Recently, Southwest Wildlife’s rescue line got an interesting call: two adult javelina’s had fallen into an old, unused root cellar. There was no exit – the root cellar was only accessible by ladder – and no way for the javelinas to get back to freedom.  

The small cellar was dirty and cluttered at only 6X10 feet. This made it both dangerous and difficult – there was no way the javelinas could climb out on the ladder! 

Based on the description of the situation, we knew a ‘Technical Rescue’ was needed, and as always, Rescuers Gandalf and Michelle were up for the challenge.   

Since there were no stairs into the small space 8 feet below and only a ladder available to access the space, Rescuer Gandalf started by setting up a pulley-system that would allow the javelina, once secured in a crate, to be pulled up, one at a time. 

As soon as Rescuer Gandalf descended the ladder, the javelina’s huffed and charged.  As you can imagine, being in a confined space with two fully mobile and angry javelina takes courage.  As an added challenge to the limited space, thin metal bars were sticking 6 inches out of the wall on two opposite sides of the space, making the situation extra dangerous, as both the javelina and Rescuers could easily impale themselves during a struggle. 

A struggle did ensue. Thanks to the expertise of Rescuer Gandalf the first javelina was safely restrained.  It was time to lower the crate that was rigged up with the pulley-system.  That’s when it was realized that the crate was not going to fit in the small entrance, which was only 24 inches wide. Time to pivot. Luckily, Rescuer Michelle had a smaller crate which was able to be lowered into the space.  One Javelina pulled from the cellar; one to go! 

The second javelina was no less of a challenge.  The force of this javelina ripped through the net while both Rescuers were working to get the animal into the crate.  The javelina successfully evaded the crate - this time! It’s unclear how a large javelina got through that small-looking hole, but it did.  With the net no longer usable, Rescuers leveraged a loop pole and existing boards and racks in the cellar to corner the javelina and get it safely into the crate. 

As the story ends, both Rescuers and javelina were safe.   The javelina were healthy and released back to the wild from which they came – hopefully to never return to this root cellar! 

With wildlife baby season upon us, please consider taking a moment to look around your property for any holes that animals may fall into and ensure doors to garages, sheds, or other structures are properly secure so that those curious javelinas (any other wildlife) don’t push their way in and get into trouble!  Thank you for caring and for helping keep wildlife wild and safe. 

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