Spring has finally sprung in the central Island and with it, MARS Wildlife Rescue is anticipating an even greater influx of orphaned babies to descend upon them.
Rapid development in the region means that birds, losing their natural habitats, are sometimes building their nests in inappropriate places and they are not always welcome guests of homeowners or their cats. Last year MARS cared for over 200 baby birds; these numbers are expected to increase again this year.
Deer, and owls, sadly often killed on our increasingly busy roads, lead to orphaned fawns, and baby owls (owlets). Eaglets fall out of their nests and need to be rescued and even baby otters can turn up. MARS will take these orphans in and give them care and treatment until they can be released back into the wild.
With baby season upon us, the need is going to be greatest over the coming six weeks. Baby birds are the first to arrive followed by fawns and other mammals in early June.
And if you think that these little creatures don’t cost a lot to care for, you might not be aware that baby owls can eat 10 mice a day while they are growing and it can’t just be any old mouse. The MARS team has to ensure that mice are free of disease and household poisons. The cost of each mouse has gone up 40 per cent this year so one baby owl will cost $14 a day to feed. Last year, goats’ milk for fawns and other mammals cost $500 per week. MARS, a registered charity, depends on donations to provide the care that our wildlife patients need. At this time of year the need is particularly great and they are urgently asking for donations from the public.
After the annual general meeting this year, which takes place May 12 at 1 p.m. at Black Creek Community Centre, MARS will be holding an open house and “Baby Shower” from 3 to 5 p.m. at their new, still to be completed, rehabilitation facility at 1331 Williams Beach Road in Merville. Instead of the usual gifts, guests will be asked to provide a donation to help the orphans.
The “shower” will provide guests with an opportunity to see what MARS has planned as well as meeting a number of the organization’s “ambassadors”. These ambassadors are owls and raptors whose injuries or circumstances have meant that they are unable to be released back into the wild and survive.
“The need is greater than ever” said Wildlife Rescue Coordinator Reg Westcott, “Everyone is welcome to join us for our special baby shower on May 12 and hear about our plans for the future.”
Donations can also be made online at www.marswildliferescue.com , www. canadahelps.org or at any Comox Valley branch of Coastal Community Credit Union.
MARS Wildlife Rescue is a charitable organization founded as a society in 1994. Largely run by volunteers, it is committed to the treatment and subsequent release of native wildlife that are ill, injured, orphaned or oiled. The vast majority of animals and birds that are in need of care are affected in some manner by human activities.
MARS provides a safe, stress-free environment for ailing or orphaned wildlife to recover. In addition, MARS educates the public about wildlife issues through lectures, displays, workshops, reports and publications.