Every year in Canada hundreds of millions of animals die as a result of human involvement. As urban expansion continues to encroach on their habitats, the encounters between wildlife and humans often have the animals on the losing end. With some species being pushed to the brink of extinction.
While there is no solution to the problem, there are facilities in the Ottawa area dedicated to caring for injured, sick and abandoned wildlife.
However, with the numbers of animals that come in every year these sanctuaries for injured wildlife need our help. Dedicated volunteers and donations are the backbone of what keep these centres open to rescue and rehabilitate animals back into the wild.
The Wild Bird Care Centre, located just south of Hunt Club on Moodie Dr. has a dedicated team of full-time staff that takes in over 2,000 birds a year.
“In the summertime there’s probably about 300 birds in the building at any given time,” says Patty McLaughlin, education co-ordinator at the centre.
With so many injured the centre relies heavily on the volunteers to assist in the daily care and upkeep of the facility.
Volunteers are asked to commit to four hours a week on a scheduled day to come in and give a hand. The only requirements are that participants be of 16 years of age, have an up-to-date tetanus shot and have reliable transportation to the centre.
Application forms to become a volunteer can be obtained through their website, or by visiting the centre.
For those wanting to help volunteer to help larger animals in need of rescue, there is the Rideau Valley Animal Sanctuary.
Located near North Gower, the facility has successfully rehabilitated nearly 4,000 animals since they were established in 2005.
“Students who are looking for a unique opportunity can participate in our internship program,” says Kristy Bailey, rehabilitation manager.”We typically have about 12 interns and we have about 50 animal care volunteers.”
Volunteers are responsible for cleaning cages, feeding the animals, preparing food and other basic duties at the sanctuary.
“The most popular volunteer stream is definitely our animal care assistant program.” says Bailey.
Full training is provided. Only a passion for wildlife is required to volunteer.
For those that want to help, but don’t have the time to commit to weekly visits, donations are also greatly accepted at each rehabilitation centre. While cash is appreciated, simple items like cleaning supplies, old blankets or towels and food are constantly needed. Full lists are available on their websites below.