Aspen is constantly renewing and expanding enclosures to provide the best possible environment for rehabilitating wildlife, including this new otter enclosure that was under construction last fall. Each enclosure is designed to give animals in Aspen’s care as much preparation for release as possible.
Photo by Janalene Kingshott
As the new Chairwoman for Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, I am really excited about how many improvements we have made in the past year, including building three species-specific beaver and otter enclosures that rival any zoo or sanctuary in Canada. Additionally, we added a new series of caging for adult raccoons and a nursery area for the babies, among other things.
We expect the next few years to be even more exciting. In 2013 we hope to expand the raccoon nursery, and we will be soon be embarking on a fundraising campaign to build a large aquatic centre since the demand for these species continues to increase. This winter we had to put in additional temporary housing for beavers because, in addition to the six orphaned and injured beavers we are overwintering, we also rescued five more from a construction project in London Ontario, where their lodge was going to be destroyed. Most will be released in safe locations in the spring. We are also exploring options to develop a new facility for moose, since we are one of only a few facilities with space to accommodate larger animals.
Over the next few months we will also be pulling together a scientific advisory group to assist in providing species-specific data to assist us in developing enclosures designed to meet the various species’ biological and behavioral needs and to help us develop Living with Wildlife programs for communities across the province.
In addition, we have been networking with other wildlife organizations with a goal to develop joint workshops and other events designed to educate the public about wildlife issues. In the longer term, we also have plans to further develop our nature trails and organize naturalist tours to augment our existing education programs even further.
Also, I am pleased to announce that our new vice chairwoman, Kristin Denault and local resident John O’Rourke have developed a new web site, which will provide information about the animals we are caring for; updates on our projects; and provide meaningful information for anyone who finds a wild animal in distress.
Check out the new site at www.aspenvalley.ca. Kristin has also set up a new fan page on Facebook and a Twitter account for the sanctuary.
We hope that outreach via these social media outlets will help us engage more young people in raising awareness about native wildlife and ensuring animals remain in their natural habitat.
(These weekly articles are contributed by staff at the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary rehabilitates orphaned and injured wildlife with a mandate to educate the public towards a better understanding of local fauna. Julie Woodyer was recently elected chair of the sanctuary’s board of directors.)