Kawartha Wildlife Centre is a charity organization, in Ennismore Ont., that takes in and cares for injured animals.
“This incarnation has been around since 2019,” said centre executive director, Lorna Wilson.
“We have a small little facility. There is less than 350 sq. ft. of space for the animals, but we are still able to help small animals and birds and a large variety of species.”
She said if they aren’t able to help a particular animal, they will do their best to direct people to the right organization.
“In the last couple of weeks, we have had anything from deer mice to herons, to gulls, a Tennessee warbler,” Wilson said.
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She said birds and bunnies are their most common patients and, at the time of our visit, the centre was housing a rabbit and a young great blue heron.
The bunny was recovering from a run-in with a dog.
“A dog grabbed him, brought him to the back door, and they didn’t know where he came from,” Wilson said.
She said keeping an eye on cats and dogs and treating windows to make them visible to birds, goes a long way toward keeping small mammals and birds safe.
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Wilson said the heron came in with a foot injury and is now recovering at the centre so she can make her migration window.
“If we don’t keep the toes bandaged, they still curl up,” Wilson said. “She has nerve damage, so she can’t keep them extended yet on her own.”
That impacts her ability to hunt, Wilson said. But that’s where the public comes in. Local anglers have been stepping up to put dinner on the table for her (or in this case — in the bucket).
“She eats about a pound of fresh fish a day,” Wilson said.
“Locally caught fish has been very helpful because it is a better source of nutrition for her. It is what she would be eating in the wild and it keeps her very happy.”
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She just asks that you call ahead before you cast a line to organize a drop-off plan and be sure to follow all of the fishing rules and regulations.
Meanwhile, others that have come through the doors include everything from a juvenile osprey that was too weak to hunt, an opossum that was saved from his mom’s pouch after she was struck by a vehicle, and a young owl who collided with a car window.
Wilson added the centre has partnerships with nearby vets for when an extra hand is needed.
She said the centre doesn’t have the space to treat large animals just yet and it isn’t authorized to look after some species, who may be more susceptible to rabies. But the centre is hoping to expand in the future.
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“Because our space is limited, we try to keep each area as versatile as possible,” Wilson said.
But at least one spot in the facility has opened up. The bunny we met has now healed and is back in the wild.
For more information on education programs or to make a donation, you can find Kawartha Wildlife Centre online.
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