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Oh, mercy



I was distressed to see in your article about the Wildlife Care Center ("Oh, Mercy," July 20) that the Director Monte Merrick does not have a clue about what animal imprinting means. He states that animals don't imprint on us from birth and his justification for that opinion is that we don't even know "the inner psychology of our own spouses." That knowing a spouse's inner psychology (whatever that may mean) has nothing whatsoever to do with imprinting he apparently does not grasp. 

Imprinting in birds has long been studied and recognized. Many birds imprint on the first moving object they see within the first 12 to 16 hours after hatching and will follow that object and will 'know' that the object they are following is what they are. The famous ethologist Konrad Lorenz was often photographed with a gaggle of geese following him everywhere.

Objects that are imprinted on can vary from a moving toy train to any animal or human. There is a YouTube video called "My Life as a Turkey" that is a fun and interesting watch.

Anyone who is working with wildlife rescue should know that imprinting is a real phenomenon and it's critical to know what animals will imprint. One working in that field should, I would think, be studying the work of ethologists like Lorenz in order to best care for their charges. 

Sylvia De Rooy, Eureka

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