More and more wild animals in distress, a consequence of the climate crisis?

The number of animals cared for by the center located in Île-des-Chênes, Manitoba, has increased sharply over the past two years.

According to Zoé Nakata, in 2021, the shelter treated 3,123 animals, while in 2020 it welcomed and cared for nearly 1,400 wild animals.

Zoé Nakata, general manager of the Wildlife Haven animal rehabilitation center.

Photo: Zoe Nakata

As of July 27, the hospital has treated a total of 1,400 animals, of which 250 are currently still in remission.

In recent years, Ms. Nakata says she has observed a correlation between increasingly strong wind speeds and the number of injured baby animals. We have a lot of little birds, owls, eagles that get hurt when they fall out of their nests after big storms. Extreme temperatures, cold or hot, can also, she says, have serious consequences for wildlife.

We are trying to see if we can do a scientific study to determine if this is really the case or if it is just a simple observation.she admits.

A bench sits on a rocky outcrop above a small river.

Zoé Nakata argues that the pandemic would also have accentuated interactions between humans and wildlife. With Manitobans increasingly engaging in outdoor activities, such as hiking and camping, the likelihood of encountering wildlife in distress is greater than usual.

Photo: Kenza Zaoui

Moreover, Zoé Nakata would like the organization to go in this direction, but the lack of resources does not allow to set up scientific research for the moment.

Human pressure on natural habitats

Ornithologist and naturalist-columnist Alain Clavette goes further. For me, it is clear. What we see as the current situation is directly linked to pressure on the habitat of these animalshe said firmly.

According to him, increasing urban development across Canada is destroying wildlife habitats. Obviously, this puts pressure on wildlife, which must obtain food and find shelter. She has to take riskshe mentions.

He believes governments should focus more on preserving natural habitats. He thus suggests to recycle existing urban areas to allow animals to enjoy their habitats.

According to him, the national parks are not enough to preserve the fauna and the flora since the human frequentation can create a negative influence on these living beings.

What we really need are wild, untouched, unexploited habitats. »

A quote from Alain Clavette, ornithologist

A lack of resources for the shelter

Being a non-profit organization, the Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Center depends on donations from individuals and private companies for its operations. We do not receive government fundingadds Zoe Nakata.

Every year, in the middle of summer, we have a lot of patients on campus because of the migration and the births of several animals on the territory, explains Zoé Nakata. Two hundred and fifty animals represent a lot of work for our team.

The cost for treating each patient at the shelter averages $500, explains the director.

The challenges are many for the center. In addition to a lack of staff and volunteers, it badly needs materials to care for and maintain the animals it receives regularly.

We try to be creative and see what happens in other animal rehabilitation centers. For example, other kinds of less expensive bandages are used to treat turtles.

The refuge deals with a hundred different species of animals, a dozen of which are threatened or endangered, such as the peregrine falcon, the chimney swift and the snub-nosed snake.

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