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Connecting with nature at Canada’s wildlife rescue centres

Animal rehabilitation centres open their doors to the public to promote education.

18 February 2016
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Suggested tweet: From mouse to moose, learn about Canada’s animals at wildlife rescue centres: http://bit.ly/1RqljXo

What happens when a bird loses its wing? Or when a racoon gets injured by a car? For many, that would signal a heartbreaking conclusion. But at Nova Scotia’s Hope for Wildlife, every day is a chance at a happy ending

Hope for Wildlife is an animal rehabilitation centre founded and managed by tireless wildlife advocate Hope Swinimer, whose compassion for animals extends equally from “mouse to moose.” Together, she, chief veterinarian Dr. Barry MacEachern, and a dedicated legion of staff and volunteers, have rescued, rehabilitated, and released more than 30,000 wild animals in Nova Scotia since 1997. Their efforts have been captured in a TV documentary, Hope for Wildlife, whose seventh season is now airing.

Hope is ever-enthusiastic: “Last year we rehabbed over 3,500 animals — a very busy year; lots of songbirds, seabirds, squirrels, raccoons, skunks, porcupines and foxes. This year we had our biggest herd of white-tailed deer (26). Right now we have our first ever black vulture!”

Both brown and white pelicans, along with hoary and silver-haired bats, were added to the list of creatures recently cared for by Hope and her team. “Every day is different and you never know what the day will bring,” she explains. People have brought injured, sick and orphaned seals, otters, eagles, snakes and a gangly juvenile moose to her converted farm on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in Seaforth, NS.

You can get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the world of wildlife rescue and rehab through guided tours in the Hope for Wildlife learning centre and wildlife gardens. Interact with education animals — those that can’t be released due to imprinting or a lost eye or wing. Meet permanent residents Gretel, an endangered pine marten, and Oliver Twist, a one-eyed barred owl, along with a kestrel, skunk, mink, porcupine, and free-range birds, from pigeons to peacocks.

A new turtle exhibit and hatchery, a science room, and an outside viewing window into the popular raccoon nursery are among this year’s new attractions for animal-lovers. Hope for Wildlife is open year-round with summer hours starting June 1.

Wildlife centres welcome visitors from coast to coast
 
If Nova Scotia is out of your way, there are rehabilitation centres across the country that open their doors to people in the hopes of educating the public about animals and animal rescue.

Creatures big and small are given a second chance at Ontario Wildlife Rescue centres. During summer open houses at Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, you will learn about the beavers, coyotes and groundhogs that roam Canada’s wilds. Nearby, Bear With Us Sanctuary and Rehabilitation Centre invites virtual visitations of its resident black bears and wolves.

On the other side of the country, in Errington, BC, birds of prey and orphaned black bear cubs are the star attractions at North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre. Tour the Museum of Nature and hear the snarling growl of a cougar in its cave. Peer through viewing windows into the eagle flight cage. Then, go meet Knut — the resident black bear born in captivity.       

Looking for more visual inspiration from Canada’s wildlife experiences? Browse our Brand Canada Library for thousands of images and videos from all over Canada.
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