The BC SPCA’s Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (Wild ARC) is nearing its busiest time of year when hundreds of babies will be brought through their doors.
“As the only wildlife rehabilitation centre on southern Vancouver Island, we treat close to 3,000 animals a year and most of those animals arrive during the spring and summer months,” says Andrea Wallace, manager of wild animal welfare. “This is because most wild species are having babies during this time, making both parents and young more vulnerable. When nests are disturbed, wildlife parents are struck by cars, or babies are somehow separated from mom, these orphans will end up at Wild ARC for care.”
Wallace says animals during this time of year have a lot to contend with to make sure their babies are safe including finding enough food, avoiding predators, as well as navigating all the human obstacles we put in their wake.
For example, orphaned hummingbirds are often the first babies to arrive at Wild ARC each spring. These fragile babies require constant care, needing to be hand-fed every 10 minutes when they are young. Deer fawns also begin to arrive at Wild ARC in late spring, often orphaned as the result of their mom being struck by a car, or injured by a predator or unruly off-leash dogs.
Wallace says staff and volunteers work tirelessly throughout the day, feeding, cleaning, and caring for all kinds of species, each with their own specialized diet and enclosures.
Syringes, blankets, fresh greens, gloves, gowns, seeds, heaters and so much more is needed to help the babies develop and learn the skills they need to thrive so they can be released back into the wild.
As a result, “The increased wildlife intakes at this time of year puts a tremendous strain on our resources,” says Wallace. “We’re very grateful to all our supporters who help us buy supplies to ensure these vulnerable animals get the care they need for a second chance at life in the wild.”