squirrel in rehab


Brooklyn’s Kris Bevilacqua’s most recent houseguest.

Kris Bevilacqua has converted the first floor of her three-story carriage house in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, into a sanctuary of sorts. A psychologist by day, Kris is also a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. She cares for rescued small mammals through the winter to be released back to the wild come spring. Among her current guests are a flying squirrel, a sugar glider, and a hedgehog. There’s also an opossum who may or may not be crashing in her tool closet. And then there’s Mini, a young squirrel who has become a permanent resident. Due to a growth problem with her incisors, Mini can’t live on her own.

The New York State Department of Conservation grants licenses to those wishing to aid injured or abandoned wildlife. Rehabbers specialize in their care by class, such as mammals, reptiles/amphibians, birds or raptors. Currently, there is a dearth of individuals licensed to care for rabies vector species–raccoons, bats, and skunks. 

Rehabbers like Kris receive no funding from the city. They volunteer their time and pay for veterinary expenses out of pocket. If not for the generosity of animal lovers like her, the city’s orphaned wildlife would have no place to go.

A Portrait of New York is an assignment for documentary film students at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism @CUNY and Dutch students visiting from Utrecht University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands to produce a compelling, character based, visual vignette. The class is co-taught by Newmark-J Professors Bob Sacha, Yoruba Richen and Utrecht Professors Brian Maston and Arjan Kroon.

Adelaida Espinoza is a freelance journalist and full-time student at CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism. Her interests include telling people’s stories through photography and documentary filmmaking. Mary Conlon is a documentary photographer and filmmaker interested in telling stories about our connection with the natural world. She is currently a student at CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism.