If you personally met Claudia González you wouldn’t think twice about sending some much needed funds to her rescue organization. Claudia is, after all, one of Puerto Morelos’ top animal rescue operators (another local hero is Diane Curtis who runs Cause4Paws).
You could walk down to OXXO (Monday-Sunday from 8am to 8pm) and make a deposit to her BANAMEX account number 5256 7801 3647 0090. Or send her some money through PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org. People who have done it before know that they can get an expense report with receipts from the vet or proof of purchase of the products bought with the money you provided.
Now, seeing a cute furry dog or cat in distress makes it easier to share the love, whether it be sending money, stuff or just volunteering as a carer. But what about doing the same for possums (tlacuaches)? Most people compare them to rats! They are NOT rats! There is so much we don’t know about them!
So, in order to make things easier for us to rally around Claudia for her to be able to keep fostering orphaned Tlacuaches, we’ve created this list:
1. Tlacuaches are not only cute. They are endangered.
There is only one marsupial that lives in Mexico: the Tlacuache.
Experts say that the Tlacuache is one of the few animals that remains without variations since it first appeared on earth, dating back to the Eocene epoch, around 60 millon years ago. It is also believed that it was the first american mammal that traveled to Europe, specifically to Spain in ships carrying fruits from “The New World”.
All that being said, us humans have made some one of the species become endangered to the brink of extinction, the Chironectos minumus which is the only acuatic breed among these mexican specimens. Other breeds are suffering mainly because of their natural habitats being destroyed. People being wreckless on the highway doesn’t help either.
2. Sometimes the mother is killed (tortured or as result of a traffic accident) and the babies are truly helpless.
We won’t trouble you with the horrific pictures of what people do to these sweet animals. Nor we will show roadkill. Only thing you need to know is when the mother dies, the babies need not to die too.
3. Tlacuaches eat a lot. Babies need constant feeding.
Very intense feeding schedules, specially when the tlacuachitos are really young -in addition to special formulas needed to guarantee their right nutrition- make food a primary concern when fostering these precious animals. It is physically hard to keep up sometimes!
4. Most of the times, is not one tlacuache that needs saving. It might be a dozen (sometimes two).
Their conception stage lasts between 14 and 17 days and anywhere from 1 to 16 offspring are born.
They stay within their mother’s pouch around 8 weeks, and spend about 4 months with their mothers. When out of the pouch they cling to her back. In the wild, Tlacuaches life-span ranges from 2 to 6 years.
Their families grow every 4 months so 2 generations of babies can sometimes be found with the same mother. The father, on the contrary, disappears after mating season is over. NO COMMENT! (LOL)
5. Claudia teaches them the skills they need to survive in the wild.
These babies are NOT training for the next Mission Impossible movie. They are just learning valuable lessons in gripping, hanging, jumping, and balancing. They need this skills in order to survive in their natural habitats.
For Claudia, it is most important that they are fit enough to be released. Tlacuaches should not be kept as pets as they suffer terribly when confined to small spaces.
6. Its expensive to care for them.
Vet bills. Special food. Antibiotics. IV fluids. Incineration or burial when they die. It all adds up.
7. People in the Riviera Maya know about Claudia’s work and call on her constantly.
Claudia is a musician and storyteller. She uses her skills to create compelling content that has made her be a true social media rockstar. So it comes as no shock that people know about her and are sure that she will respond, be it by physically attending a rescue or coaching the carers through the most delicate phases of raising orphaned tlacuaches. It gets pretty hectic. She has a day job as a full time music teacher in a nearby school. And she needs help. Period.
8. If a cat can help, so can you!
By the way. All of the pictures used in this post come from Claudia’s Facebook page. They are real! Don’t forget to like Claudia’s rescue operation fan page on Facebook!