Lila Travis with one of the baby squirrels at her wildlife refuge.

Travis is the powerhouse behind the Yggdrasil Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, and if it seems like animals have seeped into every aspect of her life, it’s because, well, they have. She and her late husband founded Yggdrasil in 2001. The center takes in orphaned baby animals—especially squirrels, opossums and deer—fosters them, and cares for them until they’re ready to return to the wild. They take in close to 200 Bay Area animals every year. Right now, the middle of the springtime rush of animal births, is Yggdrasil’s busiest season.

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A squirrel accepts a walnut from a lofty palm tree perch.

Hella Damn Squirrels has been in full operation since 2013. The group only consists of two people, Hale and her boyfriend Toppano, partners in squirrel photography from the very beginning. They focus solely on the squirrels at Lake Merritt: Toppano, the squirrel feeder and “wrangler” of the duo, brings them over with the bag of walnuts and Hale, a professional photographer, snaps their photos to be posted on social media.

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