On a recent family visit to Vancouver Island it was recommended we visit the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre. What a great day it was! Many of the birds and animals we saw were mostly being cared for then released to the wild. At the time of our visit there were several eagles soon to be released and it was fascinating to watch them fly in their enclosure. We were very impressed with the Centre and definitely recommend a visit if you are able.
Our mission is to care for ill, injured
and orphaned wildlife and to educate
the public on wildlife and
Wildlife Recovery Species - Birds
We appreciated the bird presentations and learned many interesting facts about local Bald Eagles and owls and other birds. Some of the live wildlife on display are birds which have been damaged and unable to fly again.
A personal highlight for me was to view my favourite Canadian wild bird – the Snowy Owl. The resident owl, named Elsa is a permanent long-time resident. Due to injury “she does not fly well enough to survive” in the wilderness.
Animal Orphans – Bears,Turtles & Wild turkeys
On our visit there was an orphan black bear we were able to view at very close quarters. The cost of caring for the bears was surprising. The amount quoted was “$40 per day with an 18 month cost per bear of about $18,000.” It was a warm and sunny on the day of our visit and we did have a good view of the black bear in between its naps.
There were also many Red Painted Turtles which had been mostly pets the owners no longer wished to keep. A good reminder that wild animals such as turtles are not very good pets.
Wildlife & Wetland Garden
This natural garden was another favourite to visit and stay a while. Being a “gardener” at heart I was particularly interested in the Nature Garden. From the brochure provided: "The "mini-wetland: was constructed to display many of our native wetland plants and a few other non-invasive damp to wet soil loving plants." The variety of plants (identified by label) growing seemed quite extensive and many of the plants were not familiar (to me).
An important aspect of protecting and conserving current wetlands (worldwide) is that they are home to a wide variety of insects, birds, frogs and other animals as well as providing a "stopover" during migration.
In Closing ~ for now ...
The Wildlife Recovery Centre is a fun and educational “family affair” especially if you have any “budding biologists” with you. NIWRC is a non-profit organization with many knowledgeable volunteers if you would like to support them financially. Special thanks to the volunteers who were extremely informative about their charges. The Centre to date have saved more than 23,000 birds and animals on Vancouver Island. Amazing.
Animal species change all the time at the Center so visit often. Also there were many other great displays and activities not included here. Something for everyone. Again, thanks for a great learning experience and look forward to our next visit ~ Liz
Links & References:
- Link to North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre, Errington, BC
- "New research shows the influence of salmon abundance on the movement of bald eagles" Raincoast Forest Conservation (2021)
- Bird Migration BC : "Taking Flight: BC's Fall Bird Migration" is underway in the Pacific Northwest (9/2021) https://www.hellobc.com/stories/taking-flight-bcs-fall-bird-migration/
- "Where Now Grizzly Bear?" Hakai magazine (Jan 26, 2021)
- Canada's 10 most Iconic Animals (2020) World Wildlife Fund
- Wetland Conservation Canada - Boreal Songbird Initiative
- "Endangered Species in BC" (2017 CAP)
- "West Coast BC Images to Celebrate Canada 150" (2017 CAP)
- "Great Blue Heron Reserve, Chilliwack, BC" (2014 CAP)
Feature Photo: Also located at the Centre is a wildlife display / museum which provided an opportunity to be "up close" to magnificent wildlife such as sea wolves, cougar, elk & Grizzly bears
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