Well here we are again with a new baby influx about to begin. In fact we currently have in care a mamma opossum with her 11 newborn babies in her pouch. You can read her story further along in the newsletter.
This past winter, especially February, has been horrendous for the animals and lets face it, people too. We’ve had many emaciated critters admitted this past winter. Those that were fortunate enough to be rescued and brought to us. The sad thing is the many that didn’t make it at all.
On a wonderful note the support from all of you this past year has been so amazing. Sloppy Critter kisses to you all. We can’t do it without this kind of support.
Staff, interns and volunteers are slaving away with cleaning and organizing incubators, kennels and cages to be ready to accept this cycle of babies & patients. We’re constantly in need of baby blankets, flannelette sheets, towels and other baby bedding. If you have any of these bedding needs we sure could put them to good use. We’re open 7 days a week if you have these items and can bring them around to us. This kind of help also is greatly appreciated.
Maureen Binnie, President
LESSONS TO LEARN:
Our Supervisors do their best to think of fun ideas for Interns to do while they are here that are still educational and somewhat involve the animal world. Supervisor Nathan thought of a fun lesson involving bananas! No, this is not a typo.
Breanne & Nathan took some time one afternoon during a peaceful time to teach our interns and our Animal Care Workers, Axl & Stijn, how to do multiple types of suture techniques. Once the interns felt confident in their sutures the Supervisors went around giving their bananas different (peel) wounds for them to stitch up, some even had to suture stems back on.
We are so proud to report that not one banana perished that day! Good job guys.
On January 12th, 2019 Critter Care received a call of a bear cub on someone’s property in Maple Ridge. Staff was in close contact with the Conservation Office to ensure the cub came to Critter Care as soon as possible. When Hickory first arrived at the Centre around 7:00 pm he had spent the better part of two hours in a bear trap. He was showing signs of being very hypothermic and quite emaciated.
Staff had no problem coxing him into a large kennel with apples as the prospect of warmth and food was too hard to resist. Once in the kennel he was given a quick medical exam to ensure that there was no immediate issue to deal with. The plan of action was to ensure he warmed up and to start rehydrating him. He received food and fluids every 2 hours (throughout the night) via Ensure and Pedialyte to help bring his hydration back to normal.
The next day Hickory was scheduled for his Vet appointment. Head Supervisor, Brianne along with our new Supervisor, Miha (who had the privilege of naming him) and Gail Martin. Once he was safely sedated, clinic staff got the chance to see how cute and how very small he was for his age. Hickory was about 11 months old and weighed just 10.5kg when a normal cub this age would be around 35+kg. This just goes to show how hard it is for these cubs and all animals to survive the Winter environment.
Hickory will be with us till late Spring filling his belly with lots of food and will grow big and strong when his time for release comes round.
As of the writing of this newsletter, Hickory has continued to eat large amounts of food and is gaining weight steadily since his admission in January. He is now well over 20 kg. He has recently been moved to a larger bear enclosure where he has more room to move around and be a bear. We are able to hide and scatter his food around the bigger enclosure which teaches him to find his food on his own. It keeps his brain working and teaches him life’s lessons.
Unfortunately he couldn’t be put with our other three cubs as they are still asleep and they are considerably bigger than him.
ATHENA (aka Momma Opossum)
As most of our followers know, Athena, also known as Mamma Opossum arrived at Critter Care in May 2018. She was deemed unreleasable due to her good nature and terrible chronic sinus infection. Sr. Supervisor Breanne along with some helpful interns took it upon themselves to give her the best possible life at Critter Care any opossum could ever want.
She received 2 meals per day consisting of at least 1 of her favorite things – Avocado, sardines or a hard-boiled egg. These would hopefully entice her to eat her least favorites – any vegetables. Athena thrived in her palliative care, she had a full run set up in our heated nursery and regular visitors. She was definitely a superstar.
It broke the hearts of all staff and interns when we discovered a mass in her mouth, which was determined to be an aggressive form of cancer. Mamma had already outlived the usual age for wild opossums (2 – 3 years) and we believe this was the cause for the cancer. Athena-Mamma Opossum was laid to rest December 30, 2018.
Critter Care received an odd call about “a friend of a friend” possibly trying to keep a small bobcat kitten as a pet. All they knew was a first name and a rough area of where the person might live. We did not have much to go on and we tried the best we could but kept coming up with a dead end.
Weeks later, October of 2018, two of our staff members received a phone call regarding a bobcat in a basement in Burnaby. Convinced this was the baby we had been searching for, staff responded by getting rescue equipment ready and headed to the scene. Upon arrival there was a very small bobcat kitten in a dog kennel being kept in a basement. The lady whose basement contained the bobcat was clearly nervous and whose story changed repeatedly.
Originally she had the bobcat for a few days, which turned into three weeks. She “thought” it was a domestic cat – but clearly from his coloration and attitude he was not a domestic cat. Also, after taking him from a poor situation he was in and getting him to the centre, he was examined and determined that he was approximately 7 weeks of age and 3.5 kg.
After he was in care it was clear that he was not used to large spaces to roam (as from 5 weeks he was in a small wire kennel). He has come along in leaps and bounds and has demonstrated behaviors which would indicate he will survive in the wild. So far he is putting on weight and behaving as a wild bobcat should. He will likely be released in a couple of months when the warm weather and food sources start to appear.
RUBY & The Jewel Toned Family
Ruby was found in South Langley. Due to the bad cold spell that we had in February, she decided to curl up with a few feathered friends in a chicken coop to keep warm.
Later we discovered that not only was she trying to keep herself warm but was a mother seeking shelter for her offspring as well! She came into the Centre frost bitten and carrying 11 babies that were jelly bean size and approximately a week old inside her pouch.
She will remain with us until late Spring or early Summer, so we can help her raise, most likely her first litter of babies. She is starting to put on weight as she was very thin when rescued and her babies are growing every day. Stay tuned for lots about these little Jewels.
This is what Ruby has to look forward to.
Handsome Hugo (Beaver)
We received a call at the centre from one of our veterinarians Dr. Ken MacQuisten that he and his daughter had been to a nearby park with their dogs and had spotted a sickly looking beaver. The beaver appeared to be quite thin and did not have a normal reaction to the dogs wandering up to him. Dr. MacQuisten and his daughter decided they would go back in the evening and see if they could catch the beaver. Unfortunately despite his poor condition the beaver still managed to escape into the water.
Critter Care staff went out the next day and managed to capture the beaver without too much hassle. After examining the beaver at the centre we noticed that his teeth were quite broken, this would account for why he was so thin. We offered him easy-to-eat food and a warm place to rest. He seemed to be doing well. However, after 48 hours, he became lethargic and unable to retain body heat. Supervisors gave him immediate medical care as best they could but decided to take him to Dr. MacQuisten’s clinic. The clinic was able to have Dr. MacQuisten see him right away.
Once at the clinic the beaver (now named Handsome Hugo by Dr. MacQuisten’s daughter) vitals were completely flat vitals. His blood sugar was extremely low and he was starving despite the food he was managing to eat at the centre. Sometimes emaciated animals can suffer from what is called “refeed syndrome” – this is when they are so malnourished and emaciated that when they are given food, even in small amounts their body no longer knows what to do with it and cannot absorb the nutrients.
Hugo needed an IV as soon as possible. Unfortunately beavers do not make this an easy task even when they are healthy. His veins were extremely hard to find. It took a while and few different techniques but Dr. MacQuisten and staff managed to get an IV into him. As soon as he was given some fluids and Dextrose (sugar) Hugo nearly leapt off the table. He definitely felt a bit better. Next they addressed his teeth. Dr. MacQuisten cut them down as level as he could while still leaving him enough length to gnaw bark. We would have to monitor his tooth growth and make sure there was no damage to the roots. Next was tube feeding Hugo a decent meal but he was not a huge fan of this procedure but necessary if he was to have a chance at surviving.
Hugo came back to the centre a different beaver than when he left. The interns had made him a plate of carrots and sweet potato shavings and few branches to chew on. He was on a syringe feeding schedule to make sure food was going into his belly and that his blood sugar stayed up.
Sadly, despite everyone’s efforts and hopes, the next morning Handsome Hugo had passed away. Sometimes our efforts are too much on these little animals but we cannot give up on them, especially when the majority of the time they are in our care because of human causes. How his teeth got broken in the first place is still a mystery. It is only our hope that Hugo passed knowing that we cared and tried to save him. He passed in a warm environment, with food in his belly and with an army of people who cared for him.
HITCHING A RIDE:
Sometimes Supervisors just need a break! Breanne had already walked to the release site and back that morning to make sure it was suitable for the raccoons. Since she is a pretty active person; dances once per week and judo twice, she figured she was a pretty in shape person. After hiking the raccoons and their food in with interns, Tyler and Marie, Breanne had had enough.
Interns are young and fit – why not take advantage she thought. Breanne hopped in the raccoon wagon and hitched a ride. Only for a minute or two.
KIDS HELPING KRITTERS:
Alexandria is a wonderful and happy go lucky 7 year old who loves animals so much that she was willing to give up birthday presents in order to help them. It never ceases to amaze me when youngsters like Alexandria and the many before her give up presents in order to raise money for the animals.
I’m learning that most children today have learned the lesson well of what’s here today can be gone tomorrow if the environment and the living creatures in it are not looked after in some way.
Thank you Alexandria.
SPECIAL THANK YOU’S:
Representatives from the Canadian Forces Recruiting Centre Pacific – Vancouver came out to Critter Care in November with an amazing donation raised through their “Dress With a Difference Campaign”. This campaign is where personnel pay a donation every week to wear civilian attire on Fridays.
Left to Right
Unit Chief Petty Officer Stanley Budden
Master Corporal Brandi Muldoon,
Captain Tracy Liberty (holding Athena)
CCWS President Maureen Binnie
2nd Lieutenant Pedram Mohyeddin
Our sincere thanks go to Canada’s National Defense representatives for this kindness.
During this past Christmas season Giesbrecht Tree Farm, one of the largest Christmas tree producers in the Fraser Valley, provided its customers tree netting, by donation, that generously made its’ way to Critter Care. With the many loyal customers of Giesbrecht’s Tree Farm, this donation was a terrific Christmas present for the animals. We recommend for this next Christmas season you pay a visit to Giesbrecht Tree Farm. Sloppy kisses go out for their kindness.
FOSTER A FURRY CRITTER
Registered Charity # 896439387 RR0001
o Opossums $35. o Squirrels/Chipmunks $35. o Rabbits $35 o Mink/Marmots/Weasels $35.
o Skunks $50. o Porcupines $75. o Raccoons $75. o Beavers $75. o Coyotes $75.
o Fawns $100 o River Otters $150. o Rare and Unusual (Black Bear Cubs) $500.
o I Wish to Make a Donation
My Name: ______________________________ As a fosterer you will
Address: _______________________________ receive a certificate with
City/Prov.: _____________________________ a picture of one of our
Postal Code: __________Phone: ____________ furry critters.
o VISA o MASTERCARD o CHEQUE o CASH
Card # __________________________ Expiry: _______
Total Amount: ________ Signature: ______________________
Please make cheques payable to: Critter Care Wildlife Society, 481 216th Street, Langley, BC