Recipe Column: Wildlife education across the globe
When I first heard there was a turkey vet working at Wild Instincts wildlife rehabilitation center outside of Rhinelander, I was intrigued. “Hmmm,” I thought, “a vet that treats only turkeys. How unusual.”
But my curiosity turned to delight once I met Aysegül Karaahmetoglu, who is a veterinarian FROM Turkey visiting America and learning all she can about how to treat and care for many wild creatures, not just turkeys.
Aysegül (pronounced, Eish u gul) is an enthusiastic intern at Wild Instincts and her deep brown eyes and flashing smile are testimony to her passion for all creatures. “I have always loved animals ever since I was a child,” she said. “I am learning so much here and I will be able to take this knowledge back to Turkey and help animals there.”
Aysegül grew up in Istanbul but now lives in Kars where she is on the faculty of the Kafkas University Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. Once she gets back to Turkey she will implement a first-of-a-kind program where animals that are too maimed for release, will be used to educate people about wildlife. “I’m very excited about this program,” she said. “It is so important that people can see wildlife up close and then they have a respect and appreciation for it.”
Her trip so far has been a busy one. Aysegül first spent a few days at the Raptor Education Center in Antigo. Marge Gibson is the rehabilitator there and Aysegül struck up a friendship with Marge while treating an injured raptor in Turkey. Looking for information about the bird, Aysegül turned to the Internet and Facebook and soon the two like-minded women developed a long distance rapport. Marge invited the young Turkey vet to stay with her for a few days this summer and then made arrangements for Aysegül to intern at Wild Instincts.
Mark Naniot director of Wild instincts, and his wife Sharon Larson, are enjoying this enthusiast visitor. “While she is learning a lot we are also learning from her,” said Mark. “To have a veterinarian work with us is really special. We are going to miss her when she leaves.”
Another one of Aysegül’s passions are wolves and she and her boyfriend, Emrah, who is a biologist, work together placing radio collars on these animals in Turkey. They then monitor their movements and behavior through this technology. Just recently Sharon made arrangements for Aysegül to tag along with a Department of Natural Resources scientist who is doing research on Wisconsin wolves. Part of that research includes flying in a plane over their territories trying to pick up radio collar transmissions from tagged animals. “Oh to see this country in a plane was really wonderful,” said Aysegül. “It is so beautiful to see all the trees and the lakes.”
Turkey is home to many wild creatures including mammals like wolves, lynx, brown bears and roe deer. It is also home to many birds and one of Aysegül’s favorite is the kestrel. “They are a very beautiful bird,” she said. “They just fascinate me.”
Another aspect of wild creature care Aysegül is learning about is the great amount of food needed to keep the animals at Wild Instincts healthy before they can be released. For instance, right now there are 10 orphaned bear cubs that are growing at an alarming rate, and like ravenous teenagers, are eating more and more everyday. “I see how hard Mark and Sharon work to get food for these animals,” she said. “Donations are so important to keep a facility like this going.”
Along with learning about the different foods animals eat at Wild Instincts, Aysegül is also enjoying some unfamiliar dishes to her here in America. “Wisconsin cheese is so good,” she said with a giggle. “I can’t tell you how much I love it.” She was also gracious enough to share a couple of favorite recipes from her home country for this column. “My mom is a very good cook and she makes these recipes often,” she said.
Aysegül has many chores at Wild Instincts, but one of her favorites is feeding the eight orphaned fawns there. She smiles with delight as they eagerly drink down their formulas.
Then, back in the prep room she starts busily cutting up apples, bananas, grapes and other food for the bear cubs and reflects on her trip so far. “This has been such a learning experience for me,” she said. “And I’m going to take all I have learned back to my country and help the wild creatures there. I also want to teach people how we are all connected to these wild creatures and how important it is to help them anyway we can.”
Editor’s note: Food is desperately needed for the many wild creatures at Wild Instincts. To find out how you can help visit their website at wildinstincts.com or call (715) 490-2727.
6 small eggplants or three large ones
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 lbs. ground beef
1 large onion, sliced
1 green pepper, diced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 cubes of sugar
3 large tomatoes, skinned and chopped
Parsley to taste
Remove the skin of the eggplants then weight them down in salt water for 20 minutes. Rinse then dry. Poke holes in the eggplant with a fork. Drizzle the olive oil on the eggplant. Cook them in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees until they become soft. While eggplants are cooking prepare the filling by cooking the meat, the onion and pepper in a skillet. When meat is almost done add garlic, sugar, tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste and cook for about 10 minutes. When eggplant is soft to the touch take out of over and make a slit down the middle and scoop out a little. Put the filling ingredients in to the eggplant. Cook them in the oven in 350 degrees for 40 minutes. (This can also be made without the meat.)
5 Tbs. of plain yogurt
Put the yogurt in a bowl. Remove the skin of the cucumber and chop into small pieces. Put them in the bowl then add some salt. Mix them with a spoon and start to add some water till it becomes liquid to your liking. Put in 2-3 ice cubes. Add some mint and olive oil and use a spoon to mix gently.