It has been a busy month for staff at the Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre in Ile des Chenes.
According to executive director Zoe Nakata, they are seeing an increase in patients being admitted to the centre. Last week, the centre was inundated with over 100 new patients and that is an increase from this time last year.
It is full steam ahead for the staff, but Nakata is not worried, 'that's a big uptake for us, but we're ready for it.' Summer staff have been hired and patient rooms are ready and they are well stocked with supplies of baby formula and medication for their patients.
Baby formula is needed as many of their new patients are babies. Admissions of baby bunnies, baby squirrels, and even baby birds are starting to come in. And this is no surprise to Nakata, 'with spring comes a lot of different issues that could cause injured or orphaned animals.'
Nakata has been seeing an increase in patient intake numbers every year and this year is definitely busier than last year. 'The general trend is that about this time in May we see a pretty steep uptake.' She attributes this to a couple of different factors.
The centre moved to their new campus two years ago and Nakata believes that people are becoming more aware of what they do and of their presence in the community. 'People know that we're around,' she says, ' so they might not feel so helpless when they come across animals that might need care.'
Nakata also attributes the increased patient numbers to the pandemic. 'I think people are just a little bit more in tune with nature these days, especially with the pandemic.' With more people out in parks, hiking, bird watching and camping, 'there's a lot more opportunity, to observe animals that might have come across a bit of a hard time.'
Nakata is grateful for the community support and people contacting the centre when they see animals in distress. The intake process for an animal is not a quick process, but she says, 'we certainly do try to make it as quick as possible. Care in captivity is not the ideal situation.'
The end goal is to get the animals healthy and release them, according to Nakata, 'to an appropriate area where they can thrive in nature.'
Written by Carly Koop