It was a record year for wildlife associations across British Columbia this year.
The Wildlife Rescue Association, a non-profit based in Burnaby, has cared for nearly 5,500 animals this year, up from 4,500 in 2014. Currently, the facility is nursing 37 animals of 14 different species back to health.
The Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society in Delta has also helped a record-number of creatures this year, with more than 600 birds visiting their facility, and The Critter Care Wildlife Shelter in Langly is overcapacity at the moment, with 32 cubs currently in their care.
But the cost per animal isn’t small—it’s at least a few hundred dollars each—which means an increase like this can add up to an exponential amount of money.
“We are getting so busy, and getting the same amount of funding every year, so we’re hoping to get more funding, with the increase in animals, to pay for their care and treatment,” Janelle Stephenson, Hospital Manager for the Wildlife Rescue Association, told Global News.
No one’s sure why so many animals have been brought to the shelters this year, but Stephenson suspects it’s the power of social media.
“People know about us. There could have been injured animals before that we weren’t able to respond to, that now we are,” she told Global News.
Not only has social media given people a better idea of what to do when they spot an injured or orphaned animal, it also connects rehabilitation facilities with the public.
Earlier this month, a sickly beaver was dropped off at Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, just outside of Ottawa. When the workers realized the beaver was too ill to be treated at their facility, they put out a call for a “beaver taxi” to transport the animal to Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Rosseau, Ontario, where the beaver could spend the winter in the wildlife sanctuary’s indoor water enclosure. It only took a few hours for them to find a volunteer.
But despite the financial crunch that’s come with the influx of visitors, Stephenson says they’re happy to help.
“We love it. We do it to help, and improve their quality of life so that when they’re injured they have somewhere to go.”