More and more wild animals in need, a consequence of the climate crisis?

The day-to-day manager of the animal rehabilitation center at the Wildlife Haven, Zoé Nakata, is concerned about the consequences of climate change for wild animals.

A text from Chantalya Louis

The number of animals cared for by the center in Île-des-Chênes, Manitoba, has increased significantly over the past two years.

According to Zoé Nakata, in 2021 the shelter treated 3,123 animals, while in 2020 it took in and cared for almost 1,400 wild animals.

Zoé Nakata, general manager of the animal rehabilitation center Wildlife Haven. Photo: Zoe Nakata

As of July 27, the hospital has treated a total of 1,400 animals, of which 250 are currently still in remission.

In recent years, Ms. Nakata that she has observed a correlation between increasingly strong wind speeds and the number of injured baby animals. We have many small birds, owls, eagles that get hurt when they fall out of their nests after big storms. Extreme temperatures, cold or hot, can also, she says, have serious consequences for wildlife.

We are trying to see if we can do a scientific study to determine if this is really the case or if it is just a simple observation.she acknowledges.

A bench sits on a rocky outcrop above a small river.

Zoé Nakata argues that the pandemic would have also accentuated interactions between humans and wildlife. With Manitobans increasingly engaged in outdoor activities, such as hiking and camping, the likelihood of encountering wildlife in distress is greater than usual. Photo: Kenza Zaoui

Furthermore, Zoé Nakata would like the organization to go in this direction, but the lack of resources does not allow establishing scientific research at the moment.

Human pressure on natural habitats

Ornithologist and naturalist columnist Alain Clavette goes further. For me it is clear. What we see as the current situation is directly linked to pressure on these animals’ habitatshe said firmly.

According to him, increasing urban development across Canada is destroying wildlife habitats. This naturally puts pressure on the wildlife, which must obtain food and find shelter. She has to take riskshe mentions.

He believes that governments should focus more on preserving natural habitats. He suggests thus to recycle existing urban areas to allow animals to enjoy their habitats.

According to him, the national parks are not enough to preserve the fauna and flora, as human frequentation can create a negative impact on these living beings.

What we really need are wild, untouched, untapped habitats.

Alain Clavette, ornithologist

Lack of resources for the shelter

As a non-profit organization, the Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Center relies on donations from individuals and private businesses for its operations. We do not receive government supportadds Zoe Nakata.

Every year, in the middle of summer, we have many patients on campus due to the migration and birth of more animals in the territory, explains Zoé Nakata. Two hundred and fifty animals represent a lot of work for our team.

The cost of treating each patient at the shelter averages $500, the director explains.

The challenges for the center are many. In addition to a lack of staff and volunteers, it is in dire need of materials to care for and maintain the animals it regularly receives.

We try to be creative and see what is happening in other animal rehabilitation centers. For example, other forms of less expensive bandages are used to treat turtles.

The refuge deals with a hundred different species of animals, a dozen of which are endangered or threatened, such as the peregrine falcon, the chimney swift and the snub-nosed snake.

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