LAFAYETTE, La. - A one-eyed squirrel that gained a social media following is being returned to nature.
The Acadiana Advocate reports that the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries has taken Willamina the squirrel from Emily Istre. The Lafayette resident created an Instagram account for the squirrel known as One Eyed Willa, and it had more than 1,600 followers.
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Willa is in a rehab bonding with another baby squirrel in preparation to eventually be released together. My heart aches from missing her so badly. But what a special experience. I feel honored to have been able to help her. She helped me cope with quarantine and gave me a purpose in the midst of madness. What special little soul. I will love her forever. 💖 . . . #Willamina #Willa #oneeyedwilla #wildlife #rescue #rehab #squirrel #girl #precious #angelbaby #squirrelgirl #potd #foster #mom #truelove
Istre started caring for the squirrel in mid-March.
"it was really miraculous to watch her transformation, her eye started to heal, she was a different squirrel after that" Istre said.
She says she tried to reach the wildlife department but didn't get a response. The agency says it has remained open during coronavirus restrictions. It's illegal to try to rehabilitate wildlife without a permit.
"Of course im heartbroken, of course im sad and I miss her everyday. But I love her so much, I want her to live the best life possible, and I believe this is the best scenario for her" Istre said.
According to her Facebook page, Istre is in contact with the rehabber who is taking care of the squirrel.
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