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

Wildlife Haven General Manager Zoe Nakata is concerned about the effects of climate change on wildlife.

Text from Chantalya Louis

The number of animals in the care of the center, located in Ile-des-Chains, Manitoba, has increased dramatically over the past two years.

According to Zoe Nakata, the shelter served 3,123 animals in 2021, while in 2020 it took in and cared for nearly 1,400 wild animals.

Zoe Nakata, General Manager of Wildlife Haven Animal Rehabilitation Center. Photo: Zoe Nakata

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

In recent years, Ms Nakata says she has seen a correlation between increasingly strong wind speeds and the number of injured cubs. We have many small birds, owls, eagles that were injured when they fell out of the nest after a big storm. Extreme temperatures, whether cold or hot, can also have serious consequences for wildlife, she said.

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.

The bench stands on a rocky ledge above a small river.

Zoe Nakata says the pandemic will also lead to increased interactions between humans and wildlife. As Manitobans increasingly engage in outdoor activities such as hiking and camping, wildlife in distress is more likely than usual. Photo: Kenza Zaoui

In addition, Zoé Nakata would like to see the organization move in this direction, but the lack of resources does not allow for scientific research to be established at this time.

Human pressure on natural habitats

Ornithologist and naturalist columnist Alain Clavette goes further. It’s clear to me. What we see as the current situation is directly related to the pressure on the habitat of these animalshe said firmly.

Increasing urban development across Canada is destroying wildlife habitat, he said. Obviously, this puts pressure on wildlife, which needs to find food and shelter. She has to take riskshe recalls.

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

According to him, national parks are not enough to preserve fauna and flora, as human presence can negatively affect these living creatures.

What we really need are wild, untouched, untapped habitats.

Alain Clavette, ornithologist

Lack of shelter resources

As a non-profit organization, the Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Center depends on donations from individuals and private companies. We do not receive government funding– adds Zoe Nakata.

Every year in the middle of summer we have a lot of patients on campus due to the migration and birth of several animals on the property, explains Zoe Nakata. Two hundred and fifty animals is a lot of work for our team.

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

There are many problems facing the center. In addition to a lack of staff and volunteers, he is in dire need of supplies to care for and maintain the animals he regularly receives.

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

The sanctuary cares for a hundred different species of animals, a dozen of which are endangered, such as the peregrine falcon, swift, and rattlesnake.

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