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RISING SUN, IN - It started as a small wildlife education center in southern Indiana, but now the Red Wolf Sanctuary is a popular destination for the whole family. Sherman is there to show us how you can plan a trip on the wild side this summer.




Posted by Nathan Vicar, Digital Content Producer SUN, IN (FOX19) -


A female eagle that is known to frequent the Brookville, Indiana area is fighting for her life at the Red Wolf Sanctuary.

The severely injured eagle was spotted in Laurel on Sunday, April 9 in a field, according to Paul Strasser, the founder and director of Red Wolf Sanctuary.

Strasser said the eagle was found with an injured eye and wing.

It's believed the eagle was injured during a fight by another eagle that took her territory. Strasser said eagles are notorious bitters.

Maggots and fly larva had to be removed from the wing after being rescued by Strasser and Cincinnati Zoo's Gary Denzler. 

None of the eagle's bones were broken, but soft tissue damage and feather loss are the concern.

The eagle is expected to survive, if it eats and the infection doesn't spread, according to Strasser. The eagle has been receiving medication.  

Strasser said it may take a while for the eagle to return back to the wild. 

"They have to almost be perfect to make it out in the wild and she's already not doing so well.  So we have a contingent plan of raising some money to build her a permanent home," Strasser said. 

If she isn't able to go into the wild, the Red Wolf Sanctuary will build her a permanent home where she can be used as an education animal.   

Strasser said they will need donations to expand the current raptor center for the eagle. 

For more information about the Red Wolf Sanctuary, visit their website.

Copyright 2017 WXIX. All rights reserved. 




Tuesday, 14 March 2017 18:21


Thursday, March 9, 2017 

Story from the Rising Sun Recorder/ Ohio County News

May 18, 2016

Non-profit wildlife preservation houses wild animals while educating people

Expansion plans remain in the works at a wildlife refuge in Rising Sun, Indiana.

But, the daily demands of running Red Wolf Sanctuary come first, and the non-profit wildlife preservation is spreading the word that it could use some help.

Watch Part 1Watch Part 2

It is basically operated by one impassioned preservationist, Paul Strasser, who is now in his 60s.

Strasser's wife, a paid staffer and some volunteers give him assists and are mission-driven, but they are also dependent on donations.

You never know what wild animal will be harbored at the sanctuary.

Most are rescues like Eva, a young bobcat with an ulcerated eye. Although caged and prone to hang in a culvert pipe, she is wild and aggressive and it’s best to not get too close.

This is the place that recently nursed a wounded bald eagle, named Emmy, back to health. It's the type of work that's either in your blood or you don’t bother.

Strasser cleaned, fed and nursed Emmy back to health a few months ago.

Photos of Emmy

The setting is mostly serene across the 452 acres in rural Rising Sun.

But at feeding time, it can be a swirl of fast-moving beaks and even faster-moving fingers.

Strasser still has all of his fingers, although he’s perhaps set a modern-day record for Band-Aid use.

For him, it’s just another day at the office.

The working motto at Red Wolf is "Preserve the living past for the future to enjoy."

Along with his prized Irish wolfhounds, Guiness and Paddington, the wildlife includes a variety of foxes, horses at times, wolves, mink the size of a human finger and at the moment four big, barreling black bears.

Watch: Baby mink revived at Red Wolf

One bear, named Tecumseh, was a scrawny 185 pounds upon arrival and currently pushes 700 pounds.

There are no vacation weeks and Strasser hosts educational tours by appointment.

Just coaxing skittish baby foxes to eat dead mice can be an exhausting exercise in patience.

The temporary cages housing a bobcat and the wild foxes this spring run roughly $6,000.

But, the facilities Strasser envisions and needs to keep up with regulations for housing bears approach a half-million dollars.

And for just the bears, it's a diet of 200 pounds of food per day.

“Black bears can be black, brown, blue, white or cinnamon,” Strasser rattled off while walking the property with WLWT.

“So again, you can talk to kids about diversity,” he said.

The diverse environment presents both reward and challenge.

It’s not everyone who can maneuver an injured wild fox into a carrying cage for a trip to the vet.

The injured fox was transported to Bright Veterinary Clinic, tranquilized and prepped for surgery.

X-rays exposed the medical necessity for an animal that was nearly road kill.

Someone brought the injured fox to Red Wolf for care. Reputation and word of mouth can be powerful connections.

Dr. Steven Hubbard who runs the vet clinic, said, "It takes a very special person. As I said, Paul, his staff down there, do a fabulous job doing that. I just help when they need help."

Hubbard looked over at the anesthetized fox with an oxygen mask attached and said, "Next year, he'll probably be the proud father of little baby foxes.”

With a presence that seems at once both grizzled and gentle, Strasser knows aging will set its own limitations on what he can get done.

He has no groomed successor, only a fierce determination to protect the land and try to encourage funding for expansion.

If not for what area businesses and donors already provide, his wildlife preservation effort would fold.

He does what he does to sustain what he can.

"So, in essence, the red wolf and all these other animals that are highly endangered will be gone unless we step up,” Strasser said.

Strasser employs healthy doses of characteristic good humor along the way.

"I work for an idiot, but I can't fire me," said.

His impact is perhaps best measured by his hands-on dedication to wildlife preservation and the intangibles flowing from it.

“When you get a school bus full of little kids going down the road howling, that's pretty cool,” he stated, showing his pride.

He spoke of the four young women who were volunteers at Red Wolf last year and have been accepted to veterinary school.

To learn more about Red Wold Sanctuary, the mission, the man and the wildlife he servesclick here for more information on Red Wolf Sanctuary.


Story by: John London WLWT 5

Tuesday, 09 February 2016 10:33

Team tries to save eagle injured in trap

RISING SUN, Ind. (Rich Jaffe WKRC) - One of America's most iconic symbols, a bald eagle, is currently being nursed back to health in a local animal rehab facility after being caught in a brutal trap.

Indiana wildlife officials brought the injured bird to the Red Wolf Sanctuary near Rising Sun Tuesday, Feb. 9. Local 12 News got an extraordinary up close and personal view of the efforts to save the bird and a whole lot more.

The dejected looking, mud covered eagle sat quietly in a cage as Red Wolf's Paul Strasser and his team plotted out their plan to help it. The eagle's leg was injured when it got caught in a leghold trap in Rush County, Indiana.

Picking up the bird in his bare hands Strasser explained, "The concern will be if that is dead tissue and it will turn gangrenous which we've had in the past," showing the injury.

First the bird was force fed a couple of mice for sustenance.

"Feel that? Breastbone...That should be like a big turkey breast full of muscle and fat. This bird is starving," said Strasser.

Next the bird was placed in a warm shower to wash the mud off its feathers. Soaking wet, the national symbol still had a quiet dignity. Moments later it was placed in a cage to dry and heal.

Strasser said, "We're kind of on a time crunch because this is the beginning of mating season and if he does or she has a mate or a nest already they will find someone else or they will not breed at all so you could lose potentially three chicks this year."

The hungry eagle was probably after bait placed in the trap. The result was brutal. There was nothing illegal about the leghold traps as long as it was used appropriately. Unfortunately that was not the case as the trap was illegally used to trap a great horned owl. An educational facility that's open for tours, Red Wolf is also home to animals like the friendly fox named Stella. Kim Waxler started volunteering there 9 years ago after her daughters class came for a visit.

She told Local 12 News, "It feels right. The animals are natural, I feel peace and happy. It's just a wonderful thing."

The young bobcats were purring when Local 12 went to see them, and what's a visit to Redwolf without watching Strasser talk to his wolves.

If the eagle recovers quickly, the hope is it will be released back to the wild in 2 or 3 weeks. The sanctuary is 501 C-3 and open for tours and educational visits.

'Emmy' currently unable to eat, fly or survive on her own

RISING SUN, Ind. —Wounded and rescued from a trap, a bald eagle is being nursed back to health at a wildlife sanctuary on the edge of Rising Sun, Indiana.

The painstaking recovery project is about to enter its second week and it's impossible to know at this point if it will be successful.

But, if effort and commitment are any indication, the eagle will be flying free again as winter glides into spring.

Right now, the eagle, named Emmy by her caretakers, it is unable to eat, fly or survive on its own.

WLWT News 5's John London watched Monday as Paul Strasser, director of Red Wolf Sanctuary, readied the day's diet, pulling out a bagful of refrigerated mice, injecting one with an antibiotic in the abdominal cavity.

"A fine selection of deer meat can go down and we're going to try some chicken," said Strasser as he worked a cutting board the way a sous-chef would in an upscale restaurant.

Currently, Emmy has to be force-fed. That requires patience and care as well as strength and an exacting exercise of skill.

The beak of an eagle can exert 500 pounds of pressure per square inch.

During the feeding, towels are used to shield Emmy's eyesight from the tempting flesh of fingers and hands.

Somewhere in the warehouse-like sanctuary building is a full supply of band aids as Strasser's hands sport the bloodied nicks, scratches and bites that come with the territory of caring for wild animals.

As he held the eagle's talons with one hand, volunteer Kim Waxler kept a towel over the eagle's head, holding her still as Strasser used his other hand to pry open the side of the eagle's mouth.

Then, Waxler forced the dead mouse or piece of deer meat into the mouth while taking care to not serve finger food, releasing at just the right time.

At one point, Strasser flinched and he groaned with a knowing pain.

"Get ya?" asked Waxler.

"Yeah, she got me," he replied.

The old saying about not biting the hand that feeds you is not honored by bald eagles.

Nor is the necessity of a shower but washing the mud off Emmy was another calibrated maneuver needed to restore her flight ability.

The feathers of her wingspan of more than six feet are still weighted by the mud that covered her when she was brought in.

She was so caked in mud, Strasser couldn't tell she had a white head and a white tail.

Strasser estimates Emmy is about 4 years old. He wants her to gain some weight and for her to start eating on her own so that will be easier to care for her.

"She wants to be left alone," Strasser said as he held the eagle on his lap. "She wants to be free. Birds are not, you know, lovey-dovey animals. I mean, they socialize with their group. But, this bird's whole intent is to kill something, eat it, find a mate and breed."

Emmy, a majestic national symbol, would undoubtedly be dead if not for the care she is receiving at Red Wolf Sanctuary & Raptor Rehabilitation Center.
In an adjoining room, a black-footed fox recently struck by a car was being rehabilitated.

There is virtually no off-day when you run a place that's "dedicated to the preservation of North American predators."

Strasser isn't sure what the leghold trap was out there for, but figures it might have been set with the intent to catch coyotes.

"That's why I don't like leghold traps. They're indiscriminate and animals suffer a great deal," Strasser said.

The nonprofit sanctuary is committed to wildlife preservation and education.

Story by WLWT5.   To view video please click here.