Helping Wildlife

By Jenn Watt

Published Feb. 20 2018

Whenpeople began spotting a deer in the village ofHaliburton with an arrow protruding from its head the first instinctfor many was to call the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

Theprovincial entity is usually the one to call for wildlife matters soit follows that they would be able to send someone to tranquilize theanimal and arrange for its treatment.

Whatmany of us learned through this process was that the MNRF usuallyprovides advice and refers people to wildlife rehabilitators.

Enterthe Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary and its co-ordinator MonikaMelichar.

Melicharplayed a key role in organizing the capture and treatment of thedeer which she named Mirabelle. The process took weeks since locallyno one has access to a dart gun and a wildlife veterinarian needed tobe available for when the time was right.

Thenmercifully everything came together – the venue (Dave Allen’sproperty in town) someone authorized to use a tranquilizer dart(Howard Smith of Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary) and the vet (Dr.Sherri Cox) – and on Jan. 28 Mirabelle was on her way to AspenValley for treatment.

Thedeer is doing well and will likely be returning to Haliburton in thespring.

Noneof this would have been possible without wildlife rehabilitators andour good fortune to have the Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary here inHaliburton County.

Melicharsays that there are plenty of people who mistake her work for that ofthe MNRF.

Thosepeople would also assume the service the sanctuary offers is publiclyfunded and that it has all of the specialized equipment and resourcesneeded to help wild animals in need.

Unfortunatelythat’s not the case.

On abudget of about $45000 a group of volunteers cares for about 600wild animals a year at the sanctuary which occupies 45 acres inMinden Hills.

Theydo it without government funding relying on donations or the raregrant to do their work.

Mostof us don’t think about who would be available to help should wefind an injured wild animal on the road but we imagine someone wouldbe there.

Thatonly happens because of facilities like Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary.

OnMarch 10 the sanctuary is holding its primary fundraiser of theyear Go Wild for Wildlife at Pinestone Resort. It’s an evening ofmusic dancing and food with live and silent auctions.

Ifyou’re interested in giving our local sanctuary a boost this isthe time to do it. Tickets are $50 each and available online

Itmight also be time for the province to make funds available for thesewildlife rehabbers. Their work is important and they do it withlittle help.

Asmall fund that allocates grants each year would go a long way toensuring we always have someone there to help our injured wildlife.