As we say goodbye to 2023, the BC SPCA’s Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (Wild ARC) is already preparing for this year’s busy season. Thanks to the dedication of staff, volunteers and our community, Wild ARC was able to care for 2,132 animals last year from 131 different species, each with their own unique diet, treatment and enrichment needs.
In an average year, 70 per cent of our patients are birds, and the remaining 30 per cent are mammals, only occasionally admitting amphibians or reptiles. Learn more about Wild ARC’s statistics.
Approximately 80 percent of the animals admitted at Wild ARC are in trouble because of something related to human activity. We aim to reduce this impact by doing our part to help wildlife in need.
This year a gull was admitted to Wild ARC after nearly drowning because of being soiled with an unknown contaminant. Thankfully, a good Samaritan was able to bring the gull to Wild ARC for treatment. Our wildlife rehabilitators gave the gull baths with specialized detergents, ensured the gull received the nutrition they needed and monitored their progress for the duration of their stay. With extensive, specialized treatment and plenty of time to rest, this gull was able to go back to their wild home, ready to fly again!
While Wild ARC only occasionally admits reptiles and amphibians, 2023 saw three northwestern garter snakes and four painted turtles come into our care. Native painted turtles are the only protected pond turtle in B.C., and are considered a species-at-risk. Painted turtles face a number of challenges – from climate change and habitat loss, to road mortality and competition with exotic species. This painted turtle came into care after being hit by a car and required treatment for a shell fracture. Thanks to our skilled wildlife rehabilitators, this turtle made a full recovery and was given a second chance at life in the wild.
Raccoons are frequent visitors at Wild ARC with 95 admitted for treatment in 2023. This adult raccoon was admitted to Wild ARC towards the end of the year after a Vancouver Island resident had noticed she was not behaving like a healthy wild raccoon. Upon examination at Wild ARC and assessment by an opthalmic specialist, it was discovered the raccoon had a corneal perforation, which can result from numerous conditions that trigger the cornea to melt! The raccoon required surgery to remove the eye in order to live pain free. After surgery, the rehabilitation team at Wild ARC provided her with a great variety of food, presented to her in ways that promoted her natural foraging behaviour. This ensured a healthy recovery and that she retained the skills needed for life back in the wild.
Wild ARC sees a huge variety of species each year, and no two species or situations are alike. With so much variety, Wild ARC rehabilitators need to be ready for the different challenges each day may bring. Wild ARC’s membership with provincial and international wildlife rehabilitation organizations ensures our staff remain up-to-date with ongoing professional training to provide the specialized care needed for each individual case.
Spring and summer are known as the “busy season” at Wild ARC – needing all hands on deck to care for the many baby animals that come through our doors – but Wild ARC staff and volunteers are busy at all times of the year whether they’re caring for animals, cleaning, or keeping the centre well-maintained. Our work wouldn’t have been possible without our dedicated team of volunteers who collectively donated 15,950 hours of their time towards animal care and transport, maintenance, fundraising and outreach. We are so grateful for the amazing people who come together year after year to ensure Wild ARC can continue caring for wild patients.
The BC SPCA relies primarily on public donations to carry out its life-saving work helping the province’s most vulnerable wild animals. You can help make this year another successful one for Wild ARC by volunteering, donating to our cause or helping us to spread the word about wildlife issues. Follow us on Facebook, subscribe to the BC SPCA’s WildSense e-newsletter and share what you learn with your friends, family and colleagues.