傷鳥的好朋友——高康敏

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1993 / 7月

文‧滕淑芬


因為知道野鳥急救站急需收容傷鳥義工,在木柵動物園工作的高康敏,義不容辭地加入陣容,一度有十四隻動物寄居在她的住處。


高康敏在木柵租來的住處,浴室裡有一隻山紅頭,陽台外有一隻飛鼠、兩隻領角鴞、廚房一隻灰腳秧雞,加上四隻流浪狗,每天下班回家,就有一群動物迎接她回來。

她覺得自己是個和動物有緣的人,沒上台北工作前,台南家中養了一隻白頭翁,每到吃飯時間,就和家人一同上桌,每盤菜啄一啄,還特別喜歡挑魚、肉吃。

只愛統一,不愛味全

念大學時從夜市買回來的飛鼠,已經養了四年,如今變成一隻「只吃統一布丁,不吃味全布丁」,會挑嘴的寵物。

最近從祁偉廉獸醫師那接回的兩隻領角鴞,每天餵牠吃小魚、肉和豬肝,因為怕牠會吃膩,食物得有變化,和養一個小孩好像沒兩樣。

「以前會花很多時間和收養回來的動物在一起,後來慢慢知道不應該讓牠們依賴我,不能太寵可以野放的動物。」因為,對待野生動物最好的方法,還是讓牠們回到原有的生活環境。雖然她原來所學的園藝和動物沒有直接關係,但由於在動物園工作,身旁有許多支援,不知道的動物常識可以就近問同事。如此,慢慢地也由外行進入內行。

一隻車禍受傷的番鵑由祁偉廉那兒接回來,餵牠吃東西時吐出血來,高康敏本著直覺,判斷牠可能是內傷,再和祈醫師商量,餵牠「雲南白藥」,竟然好了。

「祁醫師說,目前好像沒有鳥類用的內傷止血藥,而且動物不都有在野外尋找藥草、自療的本能嗎?」也許方法不見得很正確,但她覺得對於重傷的鳥兒,不要放棄任何可能的機會,「我們只是助牠一臂之力,剩下的九分就看牠的求生意志了。」

生命活過來的快樂

最近這隻山紅頭,被同事成功地野放。高康敏養了牠一段時間,有時候假日回台南,無法每兩小時餵食一次,乾脆就帶著牠台北、台南兩地走。如今野放,她還是每天到辦公室附近的樹叢呼叫「蛐兒、蛐兒」,「通常我都會連續喊個一星期,看看牠的情況,以後就完全不管了。」

救傷中心收容傷鳥的義工,是沒有任何報酬的,而且「飼養經費由台端自行負責」。幫救傷中心的忙,還得自己負擔飼料費用。「收容兩隻小白鷺的時候,覺得自己快要破產了」,一斤朱文錦的小魚三百六十元,可以吃兩天,加上其它動物,一個月額外支出要幾千元。

「媽媽叫我回去開花店」,但高康敏一點也不以為意,因為錢可以再賺,「一條生命在我手中活過來,很值得」,她說。

而且這些付出也不是沒有回報的,像她養的幾隻鳥,情況不錯後,就在動物園附近野放,有時候打開窗子,喊牠就會有回聲,「牠們還是記得我的」,她這麼想。

〔圖片說明〕

P.91、P90

這隻被高康敏收容的領角鴞(右),再稍加訓練野外覓食能力,就可以回到大自然了。(左)對著樹叢叫叫看才野放的一隻山紅頭,跟同伴不知玩到那去了。(鄭元慶攝)

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EN

Bird Benefactress Kao Kang-min

Teng Sue-feng /tr. by Phil Newell

Knowing that the Wild Bird Rescue Station needed volunteers, Kao Kang-min, who works at the Taipei City Zoo in Mucha, couldn't shirk her duty to join the ranks, and in a short space of time had 14 animals staying at her residence.


In the apartment that Kao Kang-min rents in Mucha, there is a red-headed tree babbler in the bathroom, a flying squirrel and two collared Scops owls on the porch, a slaty-legged crake in the kitchen, and four lost dogs. Every day when she gets back from work she is welcomed by a house full of animals.

She sees herself as having her destiny tied up closely with animals. Before coming to work in Taipei, she raised a bulbul in her home in Tainan. It would join the people at the table for each meal, chewing its way through each course, with a special taste for fish and meat.

Fussy eaters:

She has been raising the flying squirrel ever since she bought it at a night market four years ago while she was in college. Today it has become a bit of a spoiled fussbudget, only eating President brand pudding while turning its nose up at the competition.

As for the two owls recently brought home from Dr. Chi Wei-lien, each day she feeds them small fish, bread, meat, and pig's liver. Fearing the birds will become bored by monotonous food, the diet must be varied. It seems no different than raising a small child.

"In the past I would spend a lot of time with the animals I had taken in. Later on I realized that I shouldn't allow them to become too dependent on me, and that I shouldn't spoil animals that could be released into the wild." This is because the best way to care for wild animals is still to allow them to return to their original environment. Although her studies in horticulture have little connection to zoology, working in a zoo means that she has a lot of resources around her, and that she has been able to ask coworkers about things she didn't understand. In this way she has gradually gone from being an outsider to being an insider.

One cuckoo injured in a car accident that she took in from Dr. Chi spat up blood when she fed it something. She instinctively felt it must indicate an internal injury, and after discussing things with Dr. Chi, fed it "Yunnan cabbage," a kind of herbal medicine, after which all was well.

"Dr. Chi said that there is currently no medication available to stop internal bleeding in birds, but don't animals all have the ability to look for medicinal plants in the wild to cure themselves?" Perhaps the technique was not exactly right, but she feels that no possibility should be overlooked when dealing with a seriously injured bird. "We can only lend it a helping hand; the other ninety percent depends on its will to live."

Happiness through living:

Recently the red-headed tree babbler was successfully released into the wild by a coworker. During the time she was caring for it, because it has to eat every two hours, it would go back and forth with her whenever she went to Tainan. The bird was later released into the wild, but every day she went out near her office and called it. "I called for a week straight just to see how it was getting on, but later I just gave up."

The volunteers at the bird shelter get absolutely no compensation, and in fact "the costs of feeding are borne ourselves." To help the center, one must also absorb the costs of the food, and that's no chicken feed: "I thought I was going to go bankrupt when I was raising two little egrets." One catty of small fish, which only lasts two days, can run about NT$360 (over US$14). With the other animals, she was laying out several thousand NT dollars a month.

"Mom wanted me to go back to open a flower shop," but she paid no heed. This is because she could always earn more money, and "it's really worth it when a life in my hands can carry on," she says.

Moreover, this commitment is not without its own rewards. For example, when the condition of the birds she raises improves, she releases them in the fields around the zoo. sometimes when she opens a window and calls, there is a responding call. "They still remember me" is what she thinks.

[Picture Caption]

p.86

(right) This collared Scops owl taken in by Kao Kang-min needs only a little retraining in searching for food and it can return to the wild. (left) Who knows where the red-headed tree babbler has gone with its buddles. (photos by Cheng Yuan-ching)

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