Whether rescuing a turtle knocked down by a vehicle, droppings of young squirrels displaced by logging, or a falcon injured by a hunter, the Atlantic Wildlife Institute team is working to repair some of the damage caused by human activities.
Located in Cookville, east of Memramkuk, this wildlife rehabilitation center is the only one of its kind in New Brunswick. Since 1996, all kinds of wounded or orphaned birds, reptiles and mammals have been collected here.
Pam Novak, director and co-founder of the Atlantic Wildlife Institute, estimates that the nonprofit helped nearly 30,000 victims.
While visiting the newspaper, lynxes, eagles, a few owls, three fox cubs, very young red and gray squirrels and a few kites are very caring. As soon as their state of health allows, they will be released into the natural environment.
“We see a lot of injuries related to the clashes,” said Pam Novak. Animals that have been attacked by a pet, such as a cat or dog, or others caught on fishing line, twine or barbed wire, are also cared for. Some suffer from lead poisoning, and then you can give birth to children whose mothers have been removed or transferred. For example, it could be someone who kicked a squirrel mother out of her attic and then realized that there were orphans left, or chicks found after the trees were cut down.
On the other hand, it is not a question of rescuing a victim attacked by a predator: here we are dealing only with the damage caused by a person.
“We are all responsible for the wildlife damage we cause. It is important for me to put some of these animals on our feet, which are affected by our daily activities, and return them to where they came from, “said the director.
Currently, it is not allowed to visit the premises due to the increase in bird flu outbreaks. Currently, the center no longer accepts new birds. The team will first have to establish quarantine zones and strengthen biosecurity measures to prevent further infection.
For many years, the Atlantic Ocean Institute has cared for nearly 250 different species and developed extensive experience. Pam Novak could tell the stories of survivors all day. She is now caring for a baby lynx that has been diagnosed with anemia in a barn. She was barely saved by transfusing blood from cats at the SPCA shelter.
“We also picked up a young red-tailed hawk who was accidentally shot by a hunter. We didn’t think he would survive, he had seizures, he started vomiting blood. We managed to save and release him, and we continued to see him for three or four years after that. It’s always nice to see a cared for bird come out of a cage and fly high in the sky!
Pam Novak urges drivers to slow down at night and be more attentive to the presence of other living beings on the side of the road. She also asks people to stop feeding wild animals.
For example, bird feeders sometimes do more harm than good because they contribute to the transmission of avian trichomoniasis, an infection that spreads when contaminated bird saliva gets into water and food eaten by other birds. It then attacks the nasal or oral cavity and its digestive system, leaving behind necrotic tissue that accumulates and prevents it from feeding.
“When you create artificial food sources, animals become addicted to them, and you create an imbalance or contribute to the spread of disease. And you have animals that, unfortunately, need to be suppressed because they are too familiar with people and then perceived as a threat or a nuisance.
The mission of the organization is to raise awareness of conservation issues, through its educational center, organizing seminars for students or summer camps. By nourishing the work of biologists, each intervention also helps to better understand how to protect species.
“I think we, as a human society, still have a long way to go to live in harmony with everything around us,” says Pam Novak. No, of course, there is not enough effort. When we plan new buildings, greenery, we need to better take into account the needs of wildlife. If you look at the balance of nature, everything has a purpose for something else. What is left of one species contributes to the development of another species or the functioning of the environment. We humans do not do that. We create waste every day, we don’t have the opportunity to recycle or reuse the things we create. “