Niagara Wildlife Haven Needs to Relocate!
You might wonder if there is a need for a wildlife rehabilitation centre in Niagara and the surrounding areas, and we're here to let you know that there is a desperate need! Wildlife rehabilitation is a full time job. It's not the type of thing you can engage in while you work somewhere else full time. This is our only full time job, even though we aren't paid to provide these services. It's our responsibility to provide care for these animals from the minute they cross our threshold. In the past few years distressed wildlife calls have more than doubled. We do our best to provide assistance and take these animals into care, however, physical space, our location, and funding, severely limit our ability to keep up with these increases.
Many of you know that we remained at this location because we made a choice to stay and provide care and assistance to my parents. They have passed on and we now face a crossroad. To continue being a wildlife rehabilitation facility we must relocate. Niagara’s wildlife needs a place of its own - in Niagara - where the animals will receive experienced and skilled professional rehabilitation and care. We have the knowledge, we have the skill, and we certainly have the experience. We just need ‘the place’.
Although we meet the standards set by the
Ministry of Natural Resources and Canadian Wildlife Service for what we currently do here, and we pass all
facility inspections, there simply isn’t enough room here for us to work with
all the different species that we get in. Some species we must refer to other
custodians who have the space and it's not something we like to do often.
Our goal is to keep Niagara and surrounding area wild animals here, where they
belong and provide the care they need.
The second drawback to transfers outside Niagara is that all adult wild animals, by law, must be released within 1 km of where they were found. It’s stressful to send wildlife to another part of the province and transport it back for release when full grown. Unknowingly transporting wildlife disease to other areas in Ontario also makes transfer very risky.
What we need is rural property anywhere in Niagara with a minimum of 5 acres (more is better) with a residence not bounded by any urban development, in a wooded area. We need to live onsite to be able to provide round the clock care. A barn or outbuildings that can be converted for rehabilitation use - for example, a fully equipped and onsite wildlife hospital and medical clinic are also needed.
Developing an educational centre onsite where wildlife who cannot be released due to their injuries, can be housed for life and where children can come to learn respect for wildlife and wildlife habitats through public education programs is a part of our plan also. We would also like to incorporate a classroom for teaching others how to become wildlife rehabilitators. You can help us make that vision become a reality!
It would be ideal if Niagara Wildlife Haven could acquire such land and property through the generosity of compassionate donors. If you know of anyone willing to do so please have them contact us. The time has come to bring awareness to politicians and the public of the acute lack of services for injured and orphaned wildlife in Niagara and to embark on a major fundraising campaign to raise the needed funds for this project.
Our target goal is to raise $500,000.
Were we to acquire a donation of property and land, funding is still necessary for renovations, medical equipment and supplies, the construction of secure and environmentally enriched outdoor caging, ponds for waterbird rehab and recovery, flight training pens for raptors, secure and sheltered tracts of land for the rehabilitation of fawns, foxes, and other species that require privacy and minimal human contact in rehab for their recovery and to ensure they retain their wild nature. Buildings that will house orphaned and injured animals during the rehabilitation and recovery period will need water, heat, and hydro.
It may seem like a never-ending list but we firmly believe that one step at a time—we can get there. In the meantime, the work we do here at this location needs continued and ongoing funding.
Animals become orphaned when humans cut down a tree or run their nest over with a lawnmower or a weed-eater. Birds of prey attracted to roadside ditches by rodents that are there feasting on the garbage people throw out their car windows collide with cars and trucks and shatter their wings and legs. Turtles are run over, their shells smashed. Some people deliberately run over opossums, thinking of them as giant rats (they're not, they are North America's only marsupials). Wild mothers are killed when they go out to forage for food and have to cross a new subdivision road that now cuts their habitat in half.
We so often hear that we should just step back and let nature take it's course. We agree. Nature should take it's course, but the statistical facts are that 98% of injured or orphaned wild animals are admitted not because nature has harmed them - but because they have been impacted or harmed by humans or human related activities and ever increasing encroachment into formerly wild habitats. In these cases we step in and provide assistance for these animals. They are a part of our history, and our heritage and we need to ensure that we help to preserve their lives so they will be here for future generations. We can learn to peacefully coexist with wildlife.
Another reason for the increase in calls is growing awareness of the work we do here. We are the only facility authorized to rehabilitate all species in Niagara. We really need the public to support our efforts. The cost of running this facility, is extremely high and support through donations is crucial. The more awareness there is in the community about the work we do, the more help we can get for wildlife in Niagara that need us.
This year we face our biggest challenge ever. We need to work hard to relocate and find a location to establish a regional wildlife rehabilitation centre. Currently we are suffering from a lack of skilled volunteers who are willing to devote the necessary time to both wildlife care and administrative work. It takes a special person to do this work, and simply saying that you love animals is not enough. Wild animals shy away from people, and don't wish to be coddled and loved. We are their enemy. Individuals who work directly with wildlife must do so ethically and respect that they are and must retain their wild nature. If you are that type of person and want to make a difference - please contact us.
Please see our ‘Wish List’ for other ways you can help. Food and formula are always in short supply and we appreciate donations of these and other items. We are currently experiencing a major food shortage and are in need of dry, high quality brand name cat and dog food (not diet foods) and some tinned cans with meat as their primary ingredient. Donations of Esbilac™ and KMR™ powdered kitten and puppy milk replacers would also be greatly appreciated.
To those of you who helped last year and this year - our deepest gratitude. We simply could not have done it without you! We truly value your support. Each life we saved and subsequently returned to the wild—was because you cared. Thank you on behalf of all wild things!
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Updated: 21 Mar 2013 05:25 PM