Atlantic Wildlife Institute, 26 years at the bedside with wildlife

Whether it’s rescuing a turtle hit by a vehicle, a litter of young squirrels displaced by deforestation, or a falcon injured by a hunter, the team at the Atlantic Wildlife Institute is striving to repair some of the injuries caused by human activity.

Located in Cookville, east of Memramcook, this wildlife rehabilitation center is the only one of its kind in New Brunswick. Since 1996, all sorts of injured or orphaned birds, reptiles and mammals have been collected there.

Pam Novak, director and co-founder of the Atlantic Wildlife Institute, estimates the nonprofit organization has helped nearly 30,000 victims.

During the visit to the newspaper, a lynx, eagle, several owls, three fox cubs, very young red and gray squirrels and a few flying squirrels are very caring. As soon as their state of health allows it, they will be released into their natural environment.

Three orphaned foxes, Finn, Freya and Frankie, are currently being cared for at the shelter. – Courtesy
Three orphaned foxes, Finn, Freya and Frankie, are currently being cared for at the shelter. – Courtesy

“We see a lot of damage related to collisions,” says Pam Novak. “Also animals that have been attacked by a domestic animal, such as a cat or dog, or others that have been caught in fishing line, twine or barbed wire. Some are sick with lead poisoning,” and then one can have babies whose mothers have been removed or moved in. It could be, for example, someone chasing a squirrel mother out of her loft and then realizing that there were orphaned children left, or chicks found after trees had been trapped.

On the other hand, there is no question of rescuing a prey that has been attacked by a predator: we are only dealing here with damage caused by humans.

“We are all responsible for the disturbances in wildlife that we cause. It is important for me to put some of these animals that are affected by our daily activities back on their feet and bring them back to where they came from, Said the director.

Unable to visit the premises at present due to the increase in outbreaks of bird flu. At present, the center no longer accommodates new birds. The team must first establish quarantine areas and strengthen its biosecurity measures to prevent further pollution.

Over the years, the Atlantic Wildlife Institute has cared for nearly 250 different species and developed extensive expertise. Stories of survivors, Pam Novak could tell all day. She is currently caring for a baby lynx that has been found anemic in a barn. This was narrowly rescued thanks to the transfusion of blood taken from cats from an SPCA boarding school.

“We also picked up a young red-tailed hawk, which had been accidentally shot by a hunter. We did not think he would survive, he got seizures, he started vomiting blood. We managed to save him and release him, and we continued to see him for three or four years after that. It’s always a great feeling to see a bird that has been cared for, get out of its cage and fly high in the sky!

Victim of a severe head trauma and an accumulation of blood in the left eye, this large horned owl was treated for three and a half months before being released. – Courtesy

For drivers, Pam Novak suggests slowing down at night and paying more attention to the presence of other living creatures on the side of the road. She also asks people to stop feeding wild animals.

Bird feeds, for example, sometimes do more harm than good as they promote the transmission of avian trichomoniasis, an infection that spreads when a bird’s contaminated saliva enters the water and food eaten by other birds. It then attacks the nasal or oral cavity and its digestive system, leaving a necrotic tissue that accumulates and prevents it from eating.

“When you create artificial food sources, animals become dependent on them, and you create imbalances or promote the spread of disease. And you have animals that unfortunately have to be killed because they become too familiar with humans and then are seen as a threat or a nuisance. ”

The organization’s mission is to raise awareness of conservation issues through its training center, organizing workshops for students or summer camps. By feeding the work of biologists, each intervention also serves to better understand how to protect species.

The Atlantic Wildlife Institute collects all kinds of wild animals that are injured or orphaned by human intervention. – Courtesy

“I think there is still a lot to do with how we as human societies function in our environment, to live in harmony with everything around us,” says Pam Novak. No, not enough effort is certainly being made. When we plan new settlements, green areas, the needs of wildlife must be better taken into account. If you look at the balance of nature, everything has a purpose with something else. What is left of one species contributes to another species or to the function of the environment. We humans do not. We create waste on a daily basis, the things we create, we have no way to reuse or reuse. ”

This forest turtle, which was released last summer, had a broken shell after a collision with a vehicle. – Courtesy

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