UPDATE: Kidnapped Utah squirrel returns home for holidays

UPDATED Thursday, November 28, 2013 --- 1:20 p.m.

A squirrel that was kidnapped from Utah by a truck driver and then rejected by her adopted family in Wisconsin has returned home for the holidays.

The yet-unnamed critter returned to Utah on Friday and is now recuperating at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah in Ogden.

The Wisconsin State Journal first reported the squirrel's saga, which began when a truck driver at rest stop near the Utah-Wyoming border lured her into a box.

When she arrived in Wisconsin, she was given to a family near Madison as a pet. They surrendered her to a wildlife sanctuary after two months.

Sanctuary officials realized she might not survive since the Uinta ground squirrel isn't naturally found in Wisconsin, and enlisted a former wildlife center employee to shuttle her back home.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press


Posted Wednesday, November 20, 2013 --- 9:30 a.m.

A Uinta Ground Squirrel that was brought to Wisconsin is on her way back to her native home of Utah.

In August, a trucker traveling near Salt Lake City baited a squirrel into a box. The squirrel had apparently become very used to being fed by tourists.

The trucker brought the squirrel with him to Wisconsin, where he gave it to a family near Madison as a pet.

After about two months, the family realized the squirrel would not make a good pet. They brought her to the Dane Co. Human Society's wildlife rehabilitation program, the Four Lakes Wildlife Center (FLWC).

Since the species is not found in Wisconsin, the humane society's only options were to euthanize the squirrel or try to return her home to Utah.

FLWC Wildlife Supervisor Brooke Lewis contacted the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center for Northern Utah, and they agreed to take the squirrel in.

The rehab center will evaluate the squirrel to make sure she's in good health before determining if she will be released back into the wild.

Former Dane Co. Humane Society wildlife assistant Kris Vanesky offered to take the squirrel with her to Utah. She had planned to go there at the end of the month to do some backpacking. Now she has a travel companion.

Vanesky and the squirrel are leaving from Madison Wednesday morning.

The Dane Co. Humane Society wants to remind people that wild animals do not make for good pets.

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