Group looking for land to build wildlife rehabilitation centre in Okanagan

Land for wildlife centre?

The Interior Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (IWRS) is looking to open a rehabilitation centre for wild animals in the Okanagan, but first they need to find a suitable piece of land.

IWRS is a non-profit that advocates for the peaceful co-existence of people and wildlife.

While the society was only started at the beginning of this year, caring for animals is not something new to founder and president Eva Hartmann, who has worked in various wildlife rehabilitation centres across Canada, Germany, Australia and Africa. 

"I know that theres no centre around here, so I jumped into the deep end and I want to start one where I live," said Hartmann, who is currently working as a veterinary technician.

"We are looking for a piece of land where we can actually build our physical facility. It's a long road, but until we have our facility, we are working on education, networking and all the things that need to be done before the actual facility is build with enclosures for the animals."

IWRS is searching for five to10 acres of land within a one hour drive from Kelowna in any direction. The land must be rural and cannot be in the agricultural land reserve. 

Once built, the facility will feature a first-aid admissions building to receive animals that are brought in for care. It will also include enclosures where injured or sick animals will be housed, as well orphaned animals that require nursing. After an animal recovers, it will be released back into the wild.

"The scope of our rehabilitation centre will focus first on cervids (deer, moose) and small mammals, with the possibility to include other species including birds once funds allow the expansion of suitable enclosures and avian specific set-ups," says Hartmann.

“With its fast-growing population, the Okanagan is seeing a significant increase in wildlife injuries and displacement. For the past 40 years, Canada’s wildlife rehabilitation centres have shown similar statistics, more than 90 per cent of their wild patients are admitted as a direct result of human activities."

Due to wildlife transportation restrictions in B.C., many injured animals face euthanasia because it is the only available option.

"When it is us humans who put wildlife in need for assistance as a direct result of our activities, we should be helping to address this problem. Killing these animals as the only option for our region? We can do better than that," says Hartmann.

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