By VanEastVet, on Monday, August 24th, 2015
This month, BC’s Wild Animal Rescue Centre celebrates its 18th year in operation, so in tribute to their achievement, the focus of this post is to help understand the nature of their highly-specialized work.
Before 1997, wild animal care in BC was handled at BC-SPCA shelters across the province. In other words, the usual crew of domestic dogs and cats and rabbits (and others animals) awaiting adoption often shared quarters with these injured and/or orphaned wild animals who were also being cared for and rehabilitated. The needs of the wild and domestic shelter animals were not the same, and the situation was not ideal, so to accommodate their specific needs, the Wild Animal Rescue Centre (Wild ARC) was built in 1997: a dedicated facility for wild animal rehabilitation covering 10 acres of rural land in Metchosin, just outside of Victoria, BC.
Today Wild ARC rehabilitates thousands of injured and orphaned animals every year, spanning over 140 different species – wild birds, deer, rabbits, raccoons, seals, otters, and more. As stated on their site: Wild ARC is permitted annually by the BC Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations to rehabilitate raptors, mammals, amphibians and reptiles, and by the Canadian Wildlife Service to treat migratory birds. In addition, Wild ARC is a member of the Wildlife Rehabilitators’ Network of BC, the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council, and the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association, which means they are on the cutting edge of veterinary medicine, and active contributors toward ongoing medical research. In short: the animals (and humans) of BC are fortunate to live in close proximity to such a facility.
Fascinating as it all sounds, don’t plan a day trip to Metchosin quite yet: Wild ARC is not open to the public, for two very important reasons: first, unlike the domesticated animals you may find at other shelters, many of the patients at Wild ARC are easily frightened in unfamiliar conditions, and may behave unpredictably. Second, it is critical that the animals not become overly familiar or “imprinted” to human presence and scent during their rehabilitation, to ensure their successful re-immersion back into the wild. As such, Wild ARC keeps its practice private, and human presence in the Centre is kept to a minimum. However, Wild ARC hosts an Annual Spring Open House every year, usually at the end of March or beginning of April, at which time the public has an opportunity to tour the facility (while the animals are kept off-limits).
In the meantime, there are many ways to help the Wild ARC with their day to day operations, and of course means giving them some of your money. Wild ARC is funded by the BC-SPCA, and they in turn rely very heavily on the public to supplement their limited funds, which means it’s up to the animal lovers of BC to pick up some of the slack. Here’s how:
Once you’re done being a good Samaritan, treat yourself to five minutes of cuteness on Wild ARC’s Critter Cam. You earned it, citizen.