To The Rescue Newsletter · Vol. 39 No. 2

A Message from the Executive Director

Summer has come and gone, and fall is here. The extreme heat is a memory, the wildfires are slowing down, and with that, wildlife gets to breathe a sigh of relief.

Yet the struggle of nature is never over. Wildlife will now be migrating south. With more of their historically bountiful migratory land scorched again this year, they will be forced to find new routes down, including heading west to the coast. Here in the Lower Mainland, they will contend with risks of window impacts and increased competition for food and safety, all while trying to avoid common urban threats such as fast-moving traffic and domestic cat attacks.

This is why I’m so thankful for you. Your care and passion to ensure that the wildlife — who help make this province so beautiful to live in — receive the expert medical care required for a second chance at a natural life is inspiring.

Wildlife needs help now more than ever. With your ongoing generosity, we can make sure they get it.

Please take a few minutes to read some wonderful stories below, and have a great fall!

Warm regards,

The executive director's signature
A picture of Coleen Doucette, exeuctive director of Wildlife Rescue Association.

Coleen Doucette

Co-Executive Director

How One Heron Overcame Incredible Odds

There aren’t many birds as majestic as the Great Blue Heron — the way they stand, stoic and strong, and wade, softly and slowly through waters in search of prey. Imagine catching sight of one wading across a lake at sunrise, a faint mist rising around it as the cool waters warm for the day, and it’s easy to feel in awe of these beautiful creatures.

Yet, every year, we take in cases of Great Blue Herons who have been shot. Like the young heron that was brought in this August from South Vancouver suffering from two pellets lodged into its body.

“In the majority of cases, when a bird is shot, it doesn’t end well. Upon initial examination, it looked like this heron would suffer the same fate as so many before it.”

In the majority of cases, when a bird is shot, it doesn’t end well. At first intake, it looked like this heron would suffer the same fate as so many before it. Its wing was drooping and its body condition was poor. The main problem with pellets is that they often lodge into bones. Bird bones heal remarkably fast, so if a pellet lodges into a joint, the bone will heal around the pellet and make it unable to fly. This is a killer in the wild.

Luckily for this heron, things changed the next day. After another thorough examination and X-rays, we found that the pellets were not lodged into a joint, and the heron’s body condition was improving. This was enough for us to put a rehabilitation plan together.

In the following weeks, the heron had its ups and downs. Stressed from the ordeal, it wouldn’t eat and needed to be tube-fed. As the bird slowly started to feel at ease during care, it began to self-feed, to gain weight and is still self-feeding today!

This heron is in remarkable shape considering the trauma it suffered. It has been moved into a large enclosure to practice flying and rebuild its muscle. It is getting good lift, gaining weight, and self-feeding – all indicators that it will make a successful return to the wild.

Because of the time a concerned citizen took to care for this injured animal, it has its best chance at a full recovery and return to the wild.

Donor Spotlight: Nicholas Read

Each year, thousands of animals are saved at Wildlife Rescue Association thanks to the generosity of our incredible donor community. Today, we’d like to highlight Nicholas Read, an individual with a lifelong empathy for animals whose generosity helps make our work at Wildlife Rescue possible. We hope you enjoy and are inspired by his story.

Newly retired from Langara College where he taught journalism for 10 years, Nicholas spent much of his career as a reporter for the Vancouver Sun. Always drawn to animals, to their suffering and protection, he was fortunate to meld that passion into his work. For close to a decade of his 30 years with the Vancouver Sun, Nicholas wrote a regular column covering animal issues at a time when no one else in the city was doing so. “Now, it’s more mainstream. News organizations realize that people care about animal (welfare)”. Nicholas has also written 10 children’s books including City Critters – Wildlife in the Urban Jungle, to raise awareness for and share his love of urban wildlife.

Since his retirement, Nicholas has spent time volunteering at the Greyhaven Exotic Bird Sanctuary and the Richmond Animal Protection Society. “I’ve always volunteered for one animal organization or another,” Nicholas shared, “and I’ve always made donations to animal organizations. I try to give about $25,000 a year to animal causes and Wildlife Rescue is just one of many I support. It’s meaningful to me that I have the ability to do this. The Lower Mainland would be a poorer place without the Wildlife Rescue Association.”

Several times over the years, Nicholas has brought injured wildlife to Wildlife Rescue or referred others to the organization when they find wildlife in need. “I know the work that WRA does, I know it’s valuable,”“I’ve brought birds to the hospital, even if they’ve been badly injured by a cat and were unlikely to survive, because I wanted to end their suffering humanely. One time a very sick racoon appeared on my verandah and I called WRA to ask what to do but it disappeared overnight.” Pausing to reflect, Nicholas shared, “the best thing that could happen would be if the WRA went out of business because there was no further need for it.”

And while we couldn’t agree more, until then, we are immensely grateful for Nicholas and for all our generous donors who help care for animals in need. If you would like to get involved with Wildlife Rescue, please visit our website and donate today.