Wed, Aug 08, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Firefighter becomes a surrogate dad – of a baby squirrel

By Wu Sheng-ju and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter, with Staff writer

A young squirrel adopted by firefighter Wang Chien-sheng perches on his shoulder in New Taipei City’s Sijhih District on Tuesday last week.

Photo: Wu Sheng-ju, Taipei Times

A warm-hearted firefighter has given shelter to a baby red-bellied tree squirrel that strayed into a local residence, saving it from potential wildlife attacks or accidental death.

In mid-June, Wang Chien-sheng (王建生), who works as a fireman in Sijhih District (汐止), New Taipei City (新北市), received a report that a tiny squirrel was hiding in a residence on Xiwan Road.

After capturing the animal, Wang saw that the squirrel was too young to fend for itself and he was afraid it would be easy prey for other animals if it were released back into the woods.

Wang bought a special cage used for rearing baby animals and has been feeding the squirrel fruit on a daily basis.

After a month of nurturing the little rodent, the squirrel has doubled in size and has formed a bond with Wang.

The shy animal quietly nestled on Wang’s palm throughout the entire interview with the Chinese--language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper).

“Global warming has driven many animals from the mountains to the homes of local residents in the city,” Sijhih fire department sergeant Chen Shui-chin (陳水欽) said, blaming climate change for the increasing number of reports of such cases.

Chen said that most of the time, firefighters have to watch over and nurture the animals they rescue at their own expense until they can be referred to animal care units.

Aside from notifying the fire department, people who find stray animals can drop them off at an animal hospital designated by the Department of Agriculture in each city or county, Chen said.

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