Insight With Beth Ruyak

Hosted By Beth Ruyak

A daily, in-depth interview program providing context and background to the issues that face our region.

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Scientists Create Fish Skin Bandages For Wildlife Injured In Wildfires

Karin Higgins at UC Davis / Courtesy
 

Karin Higgins at UC Davis / Courtesy

After one of the most intense fire seasons in California history, wildlife experts know that some animals will end up with some burn injuries.

Dr. Jamie Peyton is the associate director at the UC Davis Center for Advancing Pain Relief and Chief of Integrative Medicine Service at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. She's partnered with Dr. Deana Clifford, a Senior Wildlife Veterinarian for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Investigations Lab. They're pioneering an innovative technique to help heal burn injuries for wild animals using fish skin.

Following the Thomas Fire in Ventura County, Dr. Peyton and Dr. Clifford were presented with the opportunity to try the technique on a new patient – a 5-month-old mountain lion cub. Dr. Peyton says the technique is a little like making a "biologic bandage" shoe for each paw.

To make each shoe, they combine honey, olive oil, coconut oil and beeswax with tilapia skin to bandage it all together. The completely natural materials speed up the healing process and are not harmful to the mountain lion if it eats the bandages, unlike ordinary medical supplies.

They join to share the story behind the technique and talk about what she hopes to explore in future research. They also share a recent development with black bears that received the same treatment.

Don't worry about that mountain lion cub, he's recovering at a Department of Fish and Wildlife facility in Rancho Cordova for the month of January, and then he'll be sent to the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue until he's old enough to return to the wild. The bears were returned to Los Padres National Forest last week.

You can see a photo gallery from the black bear treatment here.

Cody Drabble

Insight Producer and On-Air Director

Cody Drabble learned to love public radio growing up in San Francisco with KQED on every morning during breakfast. In addition to producing and directing the live broadcast of Insight each morning, he also fills in as guest host for Beth Ruyak.   Read Full Bio 

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