AZGFD Ambassadors

If you see a wild animal all alone, it’s easy to believe that this animal needs your help. But in most cases, its parents are likely nearby, and "helping" actually does more harm than good. Wildlife reared in captivity or babies raised without the benefit of learning from their parents have a greatly reduced chance of survival when and if they are released back into the wild. However, in the hands of an experienced and qualified rehabilitation expert, animals have a better chance of retaining their survival skills and being rehomed safely. Some that can’t become AZGFD ambassadors, helping us educate others about the importance of contacting the Department instead of attempting a rescue.

Download this brochure to learn more about the dangers of interfering with lost wildlife. To report an injured or abandoned animal, please call AZGFD at 623-236-7201.

Hunter

Species: Bobcat
Age: about 9
Sex: male

Hunter was found as a kitten, hidden behind pallets of blocks on a construction site near Casa Grande. Mom was nowhere to be found, and sadly Hunter’s two siblings did not survive. The well-meaning person who found Hunter decided to keep and raise him, resulting in him imprinting (or getting attached) to humans and never having a chance to learn survival skills such as hunting and predator avoidance. Unfortunately, this meant Hunter could never safely return to his home in the wild.

Today, Hunter is an Arizona Game and Fish ambassador who helps teach the public about native live wildlife. 

Q-Tip

Species: Turkey Vulture
Age: about 17
Sex: Male

Two boys hiking near Globe found Q-Tip as a downy chick in a small cave. Because they didn’t see adult birds around, the boys brought the chick home hoping to keep it. But, their mom took one look—and one whiff—and told the kids they couldn’t keep this wild thing. AZGFD was called to examine the chick and take him in, as the boys couldn’t remember where they had found him so he could not be returned.

This human intervention lead to the chick having to be hand-raised and unable to be released back into the wild. It’s a good reminder that chances are, wildlife that looks abandoned is probably just fine and the parents are likely out hunting or foraging.

Magnum

Species: Golden Eagle
Age: about 13
Sex: Male

This handsome eagle was feeding on roadkill along the I-40 near Williams and unfortunately flew up into a passing semi-truck. At first, the Wildlife Center staff believe he just had minor injuries and feather damage. But as he healed and was re-trained to hunt with the hopes of returning him to the wild, they discovered a much more serious injury—Magnum was blind in one eye. As he tried to hunt live prey, his lack of depth perception was clearly an issue, a problem that would leave him to slowly starve if released back into the wild.

Stubby

Species: Gila Monster
Age: about 20
Sex: unknown

Stubby was run over while trying to cross a road in Phoenix. Though they’re known to be venomous, a concerned motorist captured the injured lizard and brought him to our Wildlife Center. Sadly, Stubby lost half of his tail as a result of the trauma—and that’s how he got his name. This may not seem like a terrible injury, but Gila monsters actually store fat in their tales. Without it, Stubby would likely have starved if returned to the wild.

Tesla

Species: Red-tailed hawk
Age: about 10
Sex: male

Tesla had an unfortunate interaction with overhead power lines, resulting in him being electrocuted. This traumatic injury caused severe damage to some of the tissue and bone on one of his wings, leading the Wildlife Center no choice but to amputate part of the wing. Without the ability to fly, Tesla lives permanently with at our Wildlife Center and has become one of our most popular ambassadors.