Baby opossum at Elizabeth's wildlife centre
Photo by Elizabeth's Wildlife Centre

B.C. wildlife shelter searching for volunteers to care for influx of baby animals

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British Columbians have been soaking up summer-like temperatures recently, but the warm weather isn’t all positive. 

Not only is the province already dealing with wildfires, but a wildlife centre in Abbotsford is currently bombarded with orphaned animals.

Normally, Elizabeth’s Wildlife Centre would only see a few injured or orphaned babies this early. But founder Elizabeth Melnick told Global News that she’s been working at full capacity for the past month.

“It is mind-boggling between  the phone ringing and the incoming animals,” she told Global. “We can get 20 to 25 animals a day—some critical, so they require a lot of care and tube feeds and shots.”

Photo courtesy of Linda Aylesworth/Global News

A number of wildlife refuge and rehab centre’s in the west are reporting an increase in the number of animals being admitted because of warmer temperatures.

According to the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation, higher temperatures are having an impact because migratory animals are able to come back to the provinces to mate and nest earlier, and some are even choosing to over-winter here. Because they’ve already admitted so many animals in March and April, the institute says it will be tough to prepare for summer, which is their busiest time of year.

Despite her more than 30 years of experience, Melnick is also feeling a little discouraged about the future, especially if this pace keeps up when the baby birds start coming in.

Photo courtesy of Linda Aylesworth/Global News

“Some need feeding every 15 minutes [for] a minimum of 14 to 16 hours a day…and we can have 30, 40, 50 in at the same time,” she says.

Melnick relies solely on donations for medical supplies and food, and employs volunteers to help care for the animals.

She’s currently seeking donations, as well as committed and reliable volunteers. According to her website, volunteers range in age and interest, helping with fundraising or working hands-on with the wildlife.

To find out about how you can get involved, visit the centre’s website.

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