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Calgary Wildlife rehabilitation centre needs funds to help orphaned animals


A Calgary wildlife treatment and rehabilitation centre is holding its annual fundraiser to help support orphaned baby animals.

Calgary Wildlife executive director Beki Hunt says the organization sees up to seven times more animals brought to them in the spring and summer than during the winter months.

"This time of year it would be baby birds, we see some hares, we see skunks," she said. "Lots of bird patients – raptors, things like that, and later in the year we might see fawns."

Hunt says though staff are used to the annual increase in animals, but that care costs a lot.

This year, the organization is looking to raise $30,000 through its annual 'baby shower' fundraising event.

"The reason we do that is to bring in those extra funds to help us with medication, food costs and all that sort of stuff," she said. "But another reason is just education, we'd love for our followers and supporters to be able to see those wild babies up close."

Hunt says it's important for supporters to see the wild animals they're helping, but in order to not habituate them, Hunt and her team are hosting a number of Facebook livestreams for followers to see them and ask questions without being there in person.

Hunt says the public likely doesn't know how extensive the treatment is for baby wildlife.

"Especially the feeding of the birds," she said. "Every hour or two hours, it's constant, so our team really are run off their feet."

Melanie Whalen is the facilities director of wildlife services and care.

She says animals are sometimes surrendered by members of the public who mean well, but actually aren't helping.

"Often, babies don't actually need intervention, and I think people, we associate how we would care for a youngster versus how they would in the wild," she said.

"So a lot of times, the parents are actually just leaving to go get food, and they're leaving the baby there and they do return often in the evening when nobody's looking."

Whalen says if a baby is spotted, people should call a care facility before collecting the animal to make sure that it actually needs intervention.

"Usually we'll request photos, we'll watch, we'll send volunteers out to watch to see if the parents are actually returning before we intervene," said Whalen.

"Because we can never teach those life skills to an animal, so they're way better off being with the parents to learn those skills."

Whalen says the average time a baby animal needs care depends on the species.

"Some baby birds, we can have them out within a couple of weeks, so they fledge pretty quickly.

"With mammals, it's a lot more intensive care. They're with us for much longer, and then there's the whole process to prepare them and try to get them ready to survive in the wild."

Learn more about the Calgary Wildlife baby shower fundraiser here. Top Stories

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