A donated towel warms a merlin chick. Photo supplied

A donated towel warms a merlin chick. Photo supplied

MARS Moment: 2021 shaping up to be a record-setting year for animal rescues

Submitted by Jane Sproull Thomson

Special to Black Press

With the pandemic, people are staying home and exploring the local trails, and keeping MARS Wildlife Hospital busy as they discover more animals and birds in distress.

After receiving over 1,100 animals last year – a 41 per cent increase over 2019 – MARS is on track to match or surpass that figure in 2021. Usually, we have international students helping while they learn on the job, but with travel restrictions we have had to depend more than usual on local volunteers, who have been throwing themselves into the many and varied tasks demanded.

In addition to the raptors, 47 fawns, 59 raccoons, seven red squirrels, seven common seal pups, an opossum, and a black bear cub were taken in. The seal pups, opossum, and bear cub were later transferred to more specialized rescue facilities.

Six of the species treated at the hospital are ‘red listed’ or endangered, which means we could lose the species entirely: these include the two barn owls, a northern fulmar, a goshawk, a painted turtle, and a western grebe. Blue listed ‘of special concern’ species included band-tailed pigeons, California gulls, great blue herons, and the pygmy owl, peregrine falcons, and western screech owl.

Please don’t try to treat a wild bird or animal yourself. These traumatized victims often have infections as well as injuries and urgently need professional care. It is unsafe for both you and the animal to keep it any longer than absolutely necessary. Incidentally, it is also illegal. Please call us – we can come and pick it up if you cannot bring it in yourself.

Volunteer with MARS

Lots of volunteer opportunities to get involved at MARS are on offer this month. We have been busy landscaping the property around the Visitor Centre to create natural areas for trail interpretation as well as a native garden, and the new fawn ‘house’ and enclosure are taking shape. At the Visitor Centre we are anxiously awaiting Dr. Henry’s advice for re-opening!

animal welfareComox Valley


A goshawk chick awaits dinner at MARS. Photo submitted

A goshawk chick awaits dinner at MARS. Photo submitted

Just Posted

Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Campbell River dock fire spread slowed thanks to security guard

Creosote docks pose challenges for fire fighters

Scenes like this one in the dugout are all too frequent for parents and kids arriving to play baseball at Nunns Creek Park these days, spurring a request to the city to let them move to the Sportsplex in Willow Point. Photo from CRMB presentation to City of Campbell River
Safety concerns run Campbell River Minor Baseball out of Nunns Creek Park

Parents say ‘needle and feces sweeps’ have become part of everyday life for the baseball community

The cover of the newly redesigned Beaver Lodge Forest Lands activity guide. Photo courtesy Greenways Land Trust
Greenways redesigns Beaver Lodge activity guide

Guide has helped teach students for over a decade

Undersea cables are towed out into position. Photo Baylink Networks.
SRD looks at last-mile agreements for Connected Coast project

District to borrow up to $12 million — pending electoral approval

Crews work on construction of the new composting facility at the Campbell River landfill. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Environment group wishes Comox Strathcona compost site was in a better spot

Province has guidelines on siting, but they are not legal requirements

Marc Kielburger, screen left, and Craig Kielburger, screen right, appear as witnesses via video conference during a House of Commons finance committee in the Wellington Building in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. The committee is looking into Government Spending, WE Charity and the Canada Student Service Grant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
BREAKING: Trudeau didn’t violate conflict rules over WE Charity, watchdog says

Federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion found that former finance minister Bill Morneau did violate the rules

Tinder. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. man granted paternity test to see if Tinder match-up behind ‘beautiful baby’

Through the courts, the plaintiff is seeking contact with the infant he believes is, in fact, his child

Nurse Tami Arnold prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine. (Kareem Elgazzar/AP)
B.C. adults 30+ now eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19

Health officials made the announcement Wednesday afternoon

Ancient Forest Alliance campaigner Andrea Inness walks beside an enormous western red cedar stump in a BCTS-issued cutblock in the Nahmint Valley. (PHOTO COURTESY TJ WATT)
Watchdog: logging practices put Vancouver Island old growth, biodiversity at risk

Forest Practices Board has issues with BC Timber Sales practices in Nahmint Valley near Port Alberni

Erik Christian Oun, who worked for the Coquitlam school district, has had his teaching licence suspended for half a year. (Pixabay)
B.C. teacher suspended after calling students ’cutie’ and ‘sweetheart’ in online messages

Erik Oun’s licence has been suspended for half a year, a decision made by the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation

An Israeli attack helicopter launches flares as he flies over the Israeli Gaza border, southern Israel, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Singh calls for halt on Canadian arms sales to Israel as violence escalates in region

Government data shows Canada sent $13.7 million in military goods and technology to Israel in 2019

New homes are built in a housing construction development in the west-end of Ottawa on Thursday, May 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Budget’s foreign-homebuyers tax could bring in $509 million over 4 years, PBO says

Liberals are proposing a one per cent tax on vacant homes owned by foreign non-residents

A Canadian flag patch is shown on a soldier’s shoulder in Trenton, Ont., on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. The Canadian Forces says it has charged one of its members in the death of an army reservist from British Columbia during a training exercise at a military base in Alberta last year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg
Canadian Forces member charged in death of army reservist during training exercise

Cpl. Lars Callsen has been charged with one count of negligence

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks during a press conference in the rotunda at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday May 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. to use remaining AstraZeneca vaccine for 2nd doses

Health officials say the change is due to the limited availability of the vaccine

Most Read