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Salthaven West wildlife rehab experiencing busy season during Sask. spring

Salthaven West is dealing with a busy time of year, with an uptick in vehicle and window strikes and people rescuing animals who don't need to be rescued. Courtesty Salthaven West Facebook

The clinic manager at Salthaven West said spring is their busiest time of year with more wildlife around, leading to more window and vehicle strikes and kidnapping.

Natalia Slipak said lots of animal species are migrating back so the rehabilitation centre sees a lot of animals who fall victim to window strikes and vehicle collisions. She said people aren’t used to seeing as many animals when they are driving.

“They’re not aware or paying attention to surroundings for migrating animals,” Slipak said.

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Last year, Salthaven’s busiest time saw the rehab facility caring for 155 animals in the span of 10 days.

Currently, the rehabilitation centre has about 56 animals, but Slipfak expects that number to grow. They are caring for three ducks who were covered in oil and one egg in an incubator getting ready to hatch.

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Slipak said another issue this time of year is kidnapping, when people see baby animals and assume they are abandoned or injured and need to be rescued.

“We also get a lot of people with good intentions actually abducting babies that were perfectly healthy, that’s why we try to keep the information out there for everyone that actually finds any wildlife,” Slipak said.

A common victim of kidnapping is baby hares. Slipak explained the mother hare will feed babies twice a day and then leave.

“They stay put. They are very quiet (and) they have no scent,” Slipak explained.

Because baby hares don’t have a scent, they won’t attract predators. The mother hare does have a scent that will attract predators, which is why she leaves the babies alone.

“What happens is sometimes people walking around parks or places where they can find the baby and then the intent of helping this tiny little baby rabbit,” Slipak said.

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Slipak said it’s important to call a rehabilitation centre first before bringing the animal to find out if it does need assistance.

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She said workers will ask questions such as what makes you think the animal is injured, does it have obvious injuries or hanging limbs? Are there flies around the animal?

“All of these questions are extremely important for us to do pre-admission, because if they are healthy animals we prefer to keep them in the wild where they belong.”

Salthaven has been dealing with an uptick of people taking animals in as pets, which the centre asks people not to do, as well as animals with pellet wounds.

Slipak believes these calls are happening more often with more people at home and enjoying the outdoor spaces near them.

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Salthaven is looking for donations to help care for wildlife, including gloves, facial tissue boxes, paper towels, laundry detergent, Dawn dish soap, wood shavings, and gently used kennels.

The group also has an Amazon wish list. Other lists of donation needs are available on their Facebook page.

Salthaven also accepts e-transfers or donations, as a registered charity individuals can get a tax receipt if they donate $25 or more.

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