More knowledge means less injured wildlife
A volunteer feeds a five day old raccoon who had fallen off a roof and was left with injuries to his head and lower mouth. Melissa Schilz/Postmedia Network
Heaven’s Wildlife Rescue has had a busy spring and summer season this year – with a number of baby wildlife being brought to the centre for treatment and rehabilitation, it left Peggy Jenkins and volunteers no time to hold fundraising events, something she says are desperately needed in order to do what they do.
After a huge influx over the spring, they had to postpone their walkathon fundraiser, which Jenkins says has made things harder for budgeting. Maintaining quality of life for their animals can get expensive, and with vaccines costing $10 a piece, fully vaccinating just one litter of baby raccoons can cost upwards of $400.
Heaven’s Wildlife Rescue receives no government funding; they survive strictly on donations and hard work from volunteers. The organization was licensed in 2011, and this summer they are working to expand a veggie garden and become more self-sufficient, growing clover, romaine, kale and other foods for the animals.
“Nobody is paid here, it’s all volunteer based,” she said.
Jenkins said they are starting to focus even more on education, especially for youth across the county. Being the only place around that cares for wildlife like this, things can get a little crazy – in their farm and care facility they have over 300 animals.
But Jenkins said educating the population could be the key in eventually seeing less injured and abandoned animals coming to the animal rescue centre. This summer, they are visiting county libraries to teach kids about the ecosystem and how animals like raccoons, turtles and skunks are vital to it.
“It will lessen our intakes, big time,” she said, adding that teaching kids these lessons now will make a difference in the future. “We didn’t learn about this kind of stuff when we were younger.”
While some of this wildlife can be viewed as a pest, Jenkins said they are an important part of nature and the food chain. She hopes to address this misconception and change how people view wildlife, because it is often a lack of respect and care which results in wildlife needing help.
“Without raccoons, we would be overrun with mice and rats,” she said. “We talk about the animals and the benefits of the different species…we’re trying to teach the kids the importance of protecting wildlife and how they can do it.”
Jenkins said there are little things people can do to prevent injuring wildlife, including using non-barbed fishing hooks, respecting the environment and cutting any recycling or waste that could get stuck on an animals’ head, including hair bands and plastic cups.
“It keeps them aware and thinking,” she said.
Jenkins said they are always looking for more volunteers and people willing to contribute. They are hoping to take on volunteers who may be retired and able to help out during the day, as well as someone who would be able to plan fundraising events. She also said they are in need of funding and an exam light for checking over newly admitted animals.
Heaven’s Wildlife now offers people a chance to sponsor animals over Facebook – there are currently about 20 raccoons sponsored, but with over 90 to care for, more sponsors are needed. Sponsor fees vary depending on the species of the animal.
“They can actually see that specific animal that they are sponsoring, and we’ll give updates on how they are doing,” Jenkins said.
Their next fundraiser, Night Glow Putt Putt Golf at Sunset Gold Course, is coming up on Friday July 14. Teams of four can register for $20 per person by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming education seminars:
Alvinston Library – July 13 at 2 p.m.
Corunna Library – July 19 at 11 a.m.
Petrolia Library – July 19 at 3 p.m.
Oil Springs Library – July 29 at 10 a.m.
Mall Road Library in Sarnia – August 3 at 1 p.m.
Forest Library – August 18 at 10 a.m.