Local couple helps save wildlife with new centre

REGINA – A local couple wants to help sick, injured and abandoned wild animals with a new centre launched two months ago.

“We have a little guest staying in our bathroom right now,” said Megan Lawrence as she pulled back a shower curtain to show an injured eared grebe bird in her tub. “He was actually caught up in a barbed wire fence, and had quite significant injuries on his wings and body.”

In a nearby room roughly the size of a regular home office, about a dozen small animals, including squirrels and owls scurried in their cages.

Megan Lawrence is the director of operations of the Salthaven Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Centre West, which she operates in her north Regina home.

Lawrence moved to the city with her partner, Jason Pinder, this year. She created the branch to help abandoned baby animals and similarly vulnerable animals.

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“A lot of it is human intervention; they’re hit by cars, or window strikes,” she added.

It’s not easy work, but Lawrence said it’s important to leave animals in the proper hands.

“If you don’t get it just right into their mouth, then you can actually end up getting it into their lungs and that can be fatal for them,” she said, pushing serum through a syringe into a baby bird’s mouth.

So far the centre has taken in over 50 patients, including endangered ones.

“This is our prickly, little princess here,” said Jason Pinder, kneeling beside a rescued porcupine.

The porcupine was found when she was one week old; her mother is believed to have been killed on a highway. Now eight weeks old, she’s set to be released in about two months.

Financially, running the centre is a challenge since it’s donations-driven. At the moment, Lawrence and Pinder are its biggest donors.

“It’s important to me to kind of balance my impact on the world,” said Pinder, who also works as a trainer for the RCMP. “I’ll spend the money on the animals instead of a new windshield.”

While it’s easy to grow attached, he said that it’s important not to.

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“We don’t actually want them to like humans, we want them to fear humans for their own safety,” said Pinder.

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