HEADS UP– WILDLIFE ON THE MOVE AGAIN
As animals come out of hibernation and babies are born the likelihood of encountering wildlife in your neck of the woods increases dramatically. If you find a baby animal alone, there is a good chance the mother will come back. Unattended baby hares or baby squirrels, for instance, might indicate that the mothers are foraging for food to bring back, or are staying away intentionally to not attract predators to their locations.
What should I do?
Do not become an accidental kidnapper. All too often, perfectly healthy babies are mistakenly believed to be on their own, when in fact their mothers are still around. Unless the animal is truly orphaned or injured, it should be left undisturbed.
When should I take action?
• if the animal is brought to you by a cat or dog
• if there is evidence of bleeding
• if the animal has an obvious broken limb
• if the animal is shivering
• if there is a dead parent nearby
• if the animal is crying and wandering all day long What next?
If you have confirmed that the animal needs help, or are uncertain what to do, contact our animal care line at 705-644-4122 before intervening. DO NOT move the animal from where you found it unless it is directly in harm’s way (e.g., near a busy road). DO NOT feed the animal until you have talked with us first. In the meantime, we encourage you to check out our educational information at www.aspenvalley.ca. (Educational information like: Living with wildlife) Here you will find tips on what to do when you believe you have found an orphaned animal.
IN CARE AND RELEASED
This past winter, Aspen averaged 60 rehab animals in care at all times. A number of species, such as bears, otters, moose, and beavers are not self reliant until at least one year-of-age, which means overwintering at the Sanctuary is a must. Yet, with spring upon us, and the weather warming, many of these animals have been (or will soon be) released back into the wild.
With the advent of spring comes a dramatic increase in arrivals looking to Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary for a second chance. In 2020, we welcomed 938 animals to the Sanctuary. Over 400 of these animals came to us over springtime, and we anticipate a similar number of intakes this year. This has been somewhat anticipated as COVID has slowed us down, taken us outdoors more often, and beckoned wildlife to come one step closer to our communities and homes.
Pictured here is one of our first arrivals this spring — an injured otter who is fighting for his life after being hit by a truck. We’ve got you little one. Please remember to keep an eye open for wildlife when behind the wheel! Drive safely.
MORE ANIMALS IN CARE AND RELEASED
Smaller mammals, such as porcupines, raccoons, squirrels, opossums, and chipmunks make up the rest of our existing rehab numbers. It’s been a long rehab process for many of these critters, but they’re ready to go back to the wild. Pictured here are two recent releases: our raccoon friend who (along with four buddies) overwintered with us, and a porcupine known fondly as Sarah Juniper, who spent the winter with us after being injured. Take care, little buddies. Adieu to you and you.
Our semi-aquatic mammals are always high in numbers, with seven otters and eight beavers having overwintered with us. Both species were set up in indoor and outdoor aquatic facilities to meet their in-shelter and swimming needs. These otters will be heading home any day now. Interestingly, otters are our only soft-release, semi-aquatic mammals. This means that we house them in a temporary outdoor enclosure on the lake into which they are being released. After approximately one week, we open the door, and continue to support them with food until they are able to hunt enough fish on their own.
Did you know we are now on youTube with our own CHANNEL?
You can view “Tails from the Sanctuary” featuring behind-the-scenes footage of wildlife in our care.
Click this button to go there now.
HOME AT ASPEN
Our beloved Tippy is a western coyote, and tour favourite. Tippy loves to showcase his howling skills, and if you’re lucky, Tippy just might kick-start a wolf howl among the two packs in our care. Super cool! Born in Alberta, Tippy was found orphaned by a member of the public. After caring for Tippy in their home for some time, Tippy became one friendly pup. He was later brought to a wildlife sanctuary in Alberta where the staff at the facility did their best to re-wild him. Unfortunately, despite introducing him to other wild coyotes, Tippy was always more interested in people. He was never going to “wild up” enough for re-lease, and it was time to find a permanent home for him.
After endless searching, and no luck finding an appropriate facility in western Canada, the facility took their search east, and Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary was contacted. At the time, we had a female western coyote named Zoe (also habituated to humans), and we thought Tippy would make a great companion for her. Plans were put in place, and with approval from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Tippy was flown home to Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary at six months-of-age. Unfortunately, Zoe didn’t want anything to do with our best-laid plans. She was clearly less than impressed with this younger, more energetic, people-loving personality, so Tippy was built a home of his own within earshot of his many canine companions.
Going on eight years-of-age, Tippy has helped to educate hundreds, if not thousands, of people on coyote behaviour, co-existence, and the natural history of coyotes in Canada. We love you Tippy!
YOUR DOLLARS AT WORK
We are grateful for money raised during our Nursery Fund Campaign, which was kicked off on December 1, 2020 (Giving Tuesday). Your gifts, totaling $7,000, enabled us to purchase four additional incubators and an oxygen machine. This will allow us to continue meeting the needs of our ever-increasing patient population.
As a bonus, your generosity also allowed us to purchase video-monitoring equipment, which will enable the animal-care team to remotely monitor behaviours, especially for nocturnal animals, and assess their recovery process while minimizing disruption.
MORE ON COYOTES
Next to the wolf, the coyote has been one of North America’s most vilified mammals. For over 100 years, war has been waged on these magnificent creatures to eradicate them from the landscape.
Instead of succumbing, they migrated and bounced back in greater numbers then ever before. Heading east, the west-ern coyote bred with the Algonquin (eastern) wolf and created the eastern coyote – a hybrid that we see today in the urban and rural areas of Ontario.
The coyote is extremely adaptable to a variety of living situations, including city life. Its diet varies, and some peo-ple say they are more omnivores than carnivores. Smaller prey, such as rodents, make up a large part of their diet. Not surprisingly, this makes the city a relatively easy place to live given plentiful mice and few predators with which to compete.
Coyotes are monogamous, and a breeding pair will stay with one another for life and raise pups together each spring. The number of pups born each spring is reliant on the territory available. Eradicating the coyote altogether will not work. When coyotes are removed from an area, numbers can recover from a combination of increased litter size and from other dispersing coyotes moving in and filling vacant territories. Case in point: one female coyote is on record for giving birth to 19 pups at one time! Now that’s re-population. With their ability to control the rodent populous, why wouldn’t we want them around?
To learn more about coyotes and how to coexist with them, visit www.coyotewatchcanada.com
Twenty + new Permanent Residents
With just over twenty new residents this summer we’ve been very busy with big changes here at Aspen Valley! We were recently asked to provide a permanent home for twenty animals seized by authorities from a roadside zoo. These animals include a pack of wolves (4 adults and 5 pups), 4 adult black bears, 1 silver fox, 2 bobcats, 2 racoons and 2 opossums. This seizure was a huge undertaking, but we knew we needed to help and that our supporters (you!) would be there for them every step of the way. Our focus is now on providing these new residents with new large, natural enclosures and providing them with all the nourishment and medical care they will need throughout their lifetimes here. Your continued help is needed to provide these animals with a more enriched life.
Our two orphaned moose calves in rehab, Magnus and Mayson, came to us this spring as orphans. They are currently taking advantage of all the fun that the snow has to offer in their outdoor enclosure.
In our fall newsletter, we launched our fundraiser for the construction of a moose calf/deer fawn rehabilitation barn. This facility will help us to rehabilitate the growing number of these injured and orphaned animals that we are seeing each spring. Since we last wrote, we have raised $13,610.00! We also have an incredible donor who will be matching donations up to a total of $30K. Will you spare what you can to be a part of the project?
On the right: Magnus and Mayson.
Since the spring of 2013 we have been the permanent home of two lynx (Jardica and Jinx), and one bobcat (Monty). As their enrichment needs have evolved and their enclosure has endured general wear-and-tear, they have outgrown their current living space. We are in the midst of constructing a brand-new home for them that will better suit their needs. The project will cost $60K in total, and Lush Cosmetics has generously granted us $25K for the cause. The enclosure is on-target to be completed early in the new year! We can’t wait to see them bound around and explore their new home.
On right: The current progress on our new cat enclosure, located across the valley from the office.
Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary:
1116 Crawford Street