Seal pups like this one are one of many animals and birds MARS helps every year, and their caseload is growing faster than their funding or volunteer base. Photo by MARS

MARS gets financial boost from SRD, but needs volunteers, too

New animal hospital means more patients and longer stays, president says

Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society is having trouble keeping up with the increased workload they are seeing since they opened their new animal hospital in Merville.

“MARS moved into our new site last May and began settling into our newly built hospital just as the baby wildlife patients began arriving,” says MARS president Warren Warttig in a letter to the Strathcona Regional District received at last week’s board meeting.

“Spring and summer came and went, but the patients kept coming. Over the past three years our caseload has averaged 652 injured birds and animals. By the end of 2017, we had taken in over 800 patients, many needing care over an extended period of time.”

More patients and more extended stays mean higher expenses, Warttig says.

But they’re getting some help. The Strathcona Regional District (SRD) is cutting them a $5,000 emergency grant.

“It’s the only wildlife animal rescue in our vicinity,” says Brenda Leigh, director for Area D. “A lot of our birds and animals in Area D do end up there to be rehabilitated, and they found that they are becoming a lot more popular and getting a lot more animals to the new hospital and are running into a defecit situation.”

“I would urge everyone to support MARS,” says director Charlie Cornfield. “The service they provide is without borders and they do an awful lot with a small budget and I think it’s important they have support.”

But money isn’t the only kind of support they need.

“Warren Warttig actually put in 140 of his own volunteer time last month,” Leigh told the SRD board Jan. 25. “They need help. They need volunteers.”

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer with MARS can visit their website at and look for the “Get Involved” button.

There is also a “Donate” button on their main page that links to the organization’s Canada Helps page where you can make a one-time donation or a recurring monthly payment to help them in their work.