The Yukon Wildlife Preserve has been helping injured, orphaned, and sick animals for over ten years.
Located 25 minutes from downtown Whitehorse on the Hot Springs Road, It is a very important place in Whitehorse because if animals need a home they can take refuge there and be safe.
Staff at the preserve’s rehabilitation centre are always busy helping animals that need care.
“A typical day at the centre includes checking on the animals that are both inside and outside, feeding them and making sure they have their medicine,” said Dr. Maria Hallock, veterinarian and animal curator at the rehab centre.
Hallock works hard to treat every injured animal or bird that is brought to the rehab centre. She often gets asked, “Why does the Preserve help ravens and squirrels as they are so common?” “Life is life. You need to respect every life no matter how common or how rare that life is,” she replies
Approximately 45 to 50 animals are received each year, and the preserve is able to release 75 per cent of them. Some of these successes include a great grey owl that was recently released back into the wild after being helped by rehab staff. In 2013, two young eagles received surgery at the rehab centre after being injured in a storm. They were released shortly after.
Veterinarian Dr. Michelle Oakley performed surgery on one of the eagle’s fractured legs alongside Dr. Hallock.
“It was the first surgery I had done on an eagle and his leg healed so well that in a few weeks, we couldn’t tell which leg had been injured,” said Oakley. “It was so rewarding to see both eagles heal so well. Of course, the best feeling was when we released them and they could fly again.” You can see the release of owls, eagles, and other birds on Dr. Oakley’s Yukon Vet television show on National Geographic’s Nat Geo Wild. The preserve is featured in many of the shows.
Dr. Oakley enjoys helping animals, big and small. Examples of small animals that she helps are lynx babies; she gives them vaccines. An example of a big animal that she helps is a muskox. She’ll dart it, and then trim its nails and give it a check-up.
You can sponsor the preserve by giving money; this will go to keeping animals in the rehab centre alive, and to building homes for those who can’t return to the wild. An example of an animal that can’t leave is Ninja, a short-eared owl that broke his wing, and an orphaned fox that is getting a new home built there.
The staff at the rehab centre is happy to help all sick or injured animals and birds return into the wild. You can help the staff by reporting an orphaned or injured animal to a Yukon Conservation Officer at 1-800-661-0525. If you’d like to donate to the preserve, please visit www.yukonwildlife.ca.