Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary was started in the early 1970s by a caring individual who wanted to help rehabilitate orphaned wildlife. A pioneer in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, her dedication and passion for rescuing animals was an inspiration to many and the driving force over more than thirty years at the sanctuary. We are proud to continue the work she started, but respecting her own wishes, we also protect her privacy. Over 40 years later, Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary has grown in to a leader in wildlife rehabilitation. Situated in Muskoka, Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary is a 460 acre sanctuary of natural habitat. Our primary mandate is to rehabilitate animals who find their way to us so that they can eventually be returned to their natural habitat. We also provide education to the community about co-existing with wildlife and humane solutions for wildlife-related issues. The size of Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary makes us one of the most unique and important wildlife rehabilitation centres in Ontario.
We have the space and habitat to care for large animals such as moose, deer, bear and wolves as well as aquatic animals such as beavers and otters. Of course, we also take in countless numbers of raccoons, squirrels and other small mammals and birds.
Rescue. Rehabilitate. Release. Most people in Ontario live in close proximity to wildlife. In rural areas, it is common to see deer and moose tracks, as well as small mammals, while larger cities are populated with squirrels, chipmunks and even raccoons. Imagine the life-threatening impact on these creatures when they are injured or orphaned or when their ability to live in the wild is somehow weakened or compromised. At Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, we are skilled at providing shelter and care to animals who need our help.
Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary works within a model called the Sanctuary Solution: staff and volunteers rehabilitate wildlife in order that animals are successfully returned to their natural environment. No two animal species are alike, so this requires care in the form of nutrition, enrichment and, when necessary, medical treatment. When an orphaned or injured animal arrives at Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, it is immediately assessed for admission which typically includes recording weight, gender, general health and, in the event of injury, first aid.
Through its progression of recovery, the animal is treated according to its species requirements. Specific formulae, food, vaccinations and size-appropriate enclosures are requirements for successful rehabilitation. Our job may be completed in a few hours, days, weeks or months. In the case of small bears, we often care for them throughout an entire year to improve their chance of survival upon release into the natural environment.Sadly, in spite of all our efforts, there are occasions when recovery is not possible.
It is paramount to all of us here at Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary that wildlife not suffer needlessly and we treat each animal with the dignity and respect it rightfully deserves. Every creature that arrives is special to us: they are our reason for being here. We receive animals that have been orphaned, shot, hit by vehicles, trapped, starved, suffering from mange, abused, injured by predator attack, injured as a result of human attack, neglected.
In 2010, Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary achieved an outstanding 87% success rate in the rehabilitation of admitted animals, exceeding previously recorded numbers by more than 20%.
In the spring and summer months, the pace really picks up at Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. It’s baby time!Dozens of little orphaned raccoons, squirrels, foxes, coyotes, bears and beavers can arrive on a daily basis. Just like a human infant, they need regular and ongoing feedings and cleanings that are around the clock.
It is incumbent upon rehabilitators to comply with minimum standard requirements of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to return animals to the area from which they originated. Given these requirements, we at Aspen Valley work very hard to find a safe and suitable release site in which the animals will have the greatest opportunity for survival.