A Kelowna woman is searching for the perfect property to create the first wildlife rehabilitation centre in the Okanagan.
Eva Hartmann is the founder of the Interior Wildlife Rehabilitation Society, and she wants to do her part in helping injured and orphaned wildlife in southern British Columbia.
“With its fast-growing population, the Okanagan is seeing a significant increase in wildlife injuries and displacement. More than 90 per cent of wild patients [at wildlife rehab centres] are admitted as a direct result of human activities; hit-by-car, window collisions, power line burns, attacks from domestic pets, and toxins.”
At present, no such centre exists in the Southern Interior, said Hartmann, a veterinarian technician who has volunteered and done internships at several wildlife centres, including Northern Lights Wildlife Centre in Smithers.
Since its incorporation in January 2020, the Interior Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (IWRS) has been on the search for a suitable property in the Okanagan Valley with the goal of establishing a licensed facility.
“I’m sure there is land out there, we just have to find it,” she said on Friday, Nov. 27.
The IWRS is looking for 10 to 15 acres. They have had offers of farm land but they can’t build within the Agricultural Land Reserve.
“Our goal is to secure land in 2021 and start building enclosures. Then we have to get licensing and approval permits from the Ministry of Environment. It’s a very step-by-step process,” she said, adding they are also applying for charity status.
The society is weighing all options – from the purchase of land to establishing a partnership with a private donor or local land trust, to leasing land that would fully or partially donate a suitable parcel.
Hartmann explained that modern wildlife rehabilitation blends veterinary medicine, natural history, animal behaviour, and environmental ethics with public service and education.
The mission of the IWRS is to advocate for a peaceful co-existence of local communities and native wildlife by providing education about human-wildlife interactions. The other goal is providing medical care to sick, injured and orphaned wild animals with the goal of releasing them back to the wild.
“The scope of our rehabilitation centre will focus first on fawns and moose calves and small mammals, with the possibility to include other species including birds once funds allow the expansion of suitable enclosures and avian specific set-ups.“
Anyone wanting more information about the Interior Wildlife Rehabilitation Society, or those wishing to forward land donations or proposals to the IWRS can contact Eva Hartmann or go to the website.
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