As a delegate for Miss World Canada we are given a voice to stand up for what we are passionate about. I’m choosing to use my voice for the voiceless and aligning my compassion for animals with the Wildlife Rescue Association of British Columbia. Their mission is to provide leadership in rehabilitating wildlife and in promoting the welfare of wild animals in the urban environment.

This organization is 100% non-profit and runs solely on volunteers and donations. Without funding and support none of the work they do would be possible and most of these animals would not survive. The Wildlife hospital is open 7 days a week to receive any injured wildlife, which includes a wide variety of bird species, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. This year alone, the hospital has already received over 2,270 wildlife. The cost per each patient is $410.00. Currently the hospital has been temporarily closed down due to harsh winters that have damaged the building. However, with the hospital staff and volunteers they found creative ways to temporarily convert existing ground space in outbuildings into a make shift hospital. With continuous donations they hope to one day rebuild a new and improved hospital for the animals, purchase new machines and other materials needed that would help the treatment and care for the wildlife.

Wildlife living in the urban environment face many challenges such as busy roads, loss of habitat, pollution, poisoning, unsecured garbage and direct human cruelty. Beneficial human wildlife interactions begin with education. The most effective and humane way to solve wildlife problems is to prevent them before they happen. There are simple steps to wildlife-proof your home:

– Don’t feed wildlife – secure your garbage, clean up fallen fruit. When wild animals rely on human food instead of their natural diet, their health suffers.

– Prevent entry – seal entrances and to houses, sheds, barns

– Keep clean – tidy up messes and spills, outdoor waste

The Wildlife Rescue Association has a team of professional wildlife rehabilitators and an army of volunteers who are able to provide temporary refuge to a diverse range of animals. They are not a wildlife sanctuary and once the animals in their care are healthy and ready to live in the wild, they release them back to their natural habitat. They also provide public education and outreach, which includes a wildlife helpline and hundreds of presentations and displays throughout the Lower Mainland.

Every week for the past 3 months I have been volunteering in the Animal Care Hospital. At the Wildlife Rescue we specialize in the rehabilitation of various species of birds. My job is to help the veterinarians by cleaning their cages, prepping their meals, feeding them, and any other hands on tasks they need on site. One thing I’ve learned about volunteering at the Wildlife that it’s hard work and you can’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. To me though it’s all worth it when we are able to release them back into their habitat and they can survive on their own.

Within this job I’ve also gained a lot of knowledge and appreciation for the wildlife as well and the amount of care giving that must be needed. Some examples of this are for baby birds (known as fledglings) need to be fed and have their houses cleaned ever 30 minutes. Did you know that humming birds need to be fed every 10 minutes because of their high metabolism? As we are on the topic of food, each different species has their own acronym, which can be found in a book (basically an encyclopedia) of all the specific diets required for each wildlife. While we go out to clean their cages we also take account of the birds and their behavior. Some things we watch out for is a sign for Angel Wing on the bird which means it is being fed too much protein. This is detrimental for the bird, if it cannot fly it cannot survive in the wild life. There are also birds in our hospital that imprint. This basically means that the animal can come to recognize a human as their parent or object that they trust. An example of a species that imprints are ravens, because of this we must wear imprinting gear. This allows us to appear as a “blob” which includes a sheet and a facemask. For some of the animals you must be careful to not even talk around them because they are incredibly smart to the point they will recognize your voice.

All these precautions are done for the sole purpose that implements we are not a sanctuary but a rehabilitation center for the wildlife. What this means is that we do not treat the wildlife as our ‘pets’, we want them to continue to have a healthy fear of humans. This is because should an animal trust a human, it will begin to rely on the humans for food (like ducks and bread) and Darwin’s Theory of survival of the fittest comes into play where they will not survive. We continue to keep the ‘wild’ in ‘wildlife’ for these creatures. We want them to leave the rehabilitation center in better condition that they came in so thy can continue to thrive in the environment they were meant to live in.

My beauty with a purpose is meant to inspire others to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. Wildlife plays an important role in balancing the environment and provides the stability to different natural processes of nature. We only have one Earth, a planet we all share and depend upon. The wildlife has as much of a right to be here as we do. Together we can make our earth a more beautiful place to live, we need to help each other to better our planet.

If you wish to make a donation to the Wildlife Rescue Association, please click the following link:  https://www.wildliferescue.ca/

Miss British Columbia World 2018

Natasha

 

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