It has been a real pleasure utilizing our new facility, which is filled with unique and exciting features that allow us to provide excellent care for injured and orphaned wildlife.

Check it out: in-floor heating and advanced lighting that can be individually controlled for each animal care room. Lighting is fade-adjustable to create sunset/sunrise-like transitions.

There is a water source in every enclosure. The most exciting feature is the eight video cameras strategically located for monitoring our resident rehab animals.

Not only we can see our residents in real time, but we can also monitor their activity 24/7 simply by checking the video recording for the past two weeks.

The four inside cameras have infrared capabilities for observing animal health and behaviour during the night without the need for human contact.

Over the past few months, we have learned a lot just by observing the animals’ social interactions, feeding habits and preferences, and monitoring their daily activities.

We’ve confirmed a few interesting facts, such as the night vision of the sandhill crane that was brought to YWP after being left behind during fall migration.

We have learned a lot about this crane since he arrived. Apparently—despite all logic, knowledge and research—this particular bird prefers to feed on fish rather than grain and insects!

Not only that, he likes each piece to be freshly rinsed before he eats it. He takes it to the artificial pond in his enclosure, rinses it and shakes off the excess water. Only then is it good to go!

He spends hours weeding his brome-grass planters and digging roots from the willow patch. He flies around his 2,800 cubic-foot room and enjoys chatting with his imaginary friends in the reflection of two mirrors.

Ninja, the short-eared owl, shortly after coming to the rehab centre last year PHOTO: Rick Massie www.rickmassie.com – Volunteer Cara Worden with Ninja Credit PHOTO: courtesy of Yukon Wildlife Preserve

In the spring he will be transported to Faro and released during the migration of sandhill cranes through the area. We thank the Canadian Wildlife Service for helping us get our special permit to house and care for migratory birds.

Speaking of thanks, we would also like to acknowledge Icy Waters Arctic Char Ltd., for donating a never-ending supply of surplus char for our birds in rehab. The Canada lynx and arctic fox have also been really enjoying this fresh treat.

Other animals we are presently caring for include a mallard duck who also missed his migration and will be released in the spring, and a great horned owl who suffered a bad break in his wing, but has healed enough to fend for himself and will also be released in the spring.

We have two permanent guests who will be staying with us, as they have both suffered severe wing injury and are unable to survive in the wild.

Volunteer Cara Worden has been working with Ninja, our resident short-eared owl, and is now able to have her perching on her wrist as well as transporting her on and off the tree, chair, etc.

Ninja also allows animal care assistant Daniel Jolkowski and me to work with her. Even our executive director, Greg Meredith, has had her perched on his hand.

Our hope is that Ninja will become comfortable enough around new people to enjoy participating inour various interpretive, school and nature camp programs.

The other permanent resident in our rehabilitation collection is an immature bald eagle who also suffered complex trauma to one of his wings.

Like the YWP staff, I am sure he is anxiously awaiting the completion of our large flight pen, so that he can have enough space to fully explore his huge wingspan.

Once accommodated in the large flight enclosure, he will be visible to all our visitors, and we will all be able to watch him and gauge his flying abilities.

Since its completion last April, the WRRC has hosted a large number of visitors of various Yukon wildlife species. Although not all could be saved, most of our visiting animals healed successfully and have been released back into the wild.

Please remember, not all animals that appear to be in distress actually need help, especially youngsters that could just be undergoing a normal stage of their development.

If you do come across an orphaned, distressed or deceased wild animal, your first call should be to the Yukon Conservation Officer Services T.I.P.P. line (1-800-661-0525).

They will advise you as to your next steps in assisting the animal in distress. Other helpful hints are at www.env.gov.yk.ca/wildlifebiodiversity/problemwildlife.php and at www.iwrc-online.org