Wildlife ‘kidnapping,’ mistreatment, causing capacity problems at Regina’s Salthaven

Warning: this article contains graphic content.

Salthaven West in Regina said it’s having a hard time dealing with the number of animals being brought into its centre and is asking the public to be mindful when it comes to wildlife.

The organization said people are unnecessarily attending to wildlife, who are thought to be struggling.

“We’re seeing a lot of people giving us a call for animals they are finding and think need help, perhaps something they wouldn’t have noticed before if they weren’t working from home or if their kids were in school,” said Megan Lawrence, Salthaven West’s director of rehabilitation.

READ MORE: Mistaken abandonment: Saskatchewan wildlife expert says to leave bunnies alone

“Its fledgeling birds, baby bunnies where it’s normal for them to be on the ground or be left alone, but people don’t realize that so they end up taking them home, essentially kidnapping them.”

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Leave the fawns alone
Leave the fawns alone

Not only are these animals being taken away from their families, but it’s also creating problems for the rehabilitation centre.

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“We’re definitely seeing an increase in our patient load over this time last year so it just adds to the food cost. We don’t have as many volunteers as we did last year because of the (coronavirus) pandemic,” Lawrence said.

“For the volunteers who are here, it’s putting a lot of stress and strain on them to care for all these additional patients.”

READ MORE: City of Regina trapping and euthanizing rabbits to control population

Lawrence said roaming cats and animal cruelty are also leading to an increased number of injured wildlife.

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“They often have injuries when they come in, puncture wounds from cats and are in bad shape when they get here,” Lawrence said.

This young Red Fox was trapped and knowingly left in a trap for days without any food or water.
This young Red Fox was trapped and knowingly left in a trap for days without any food or water.Courtesy / Salthaven West
This young juvenile Fox Squirrel has a badly infected wound from a cat bite and is on antibiotics and pain medications.
This young juvenile Fox Squirrel has a badly infected wound from a cat bite and is on antibiotics and pain medications.Courtesy / Salthaven West
This crow's wing was badly shattered from a pellet gun and had to be euthanized.
This crow’s wing was badly shattered from a pellet gun and had to be euthanized.Courtesy / Salthaven West

“We’ve seen a few cases in which people have mistreated animals whether they are doing it on purpose, or not realizing what they are doing is mistreatment.

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“These animals don’t have to come into care at all if it hadn’t been for people mistreating them. This also adds to our patient load.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Canadians report increased wildlife sightings amid COVID-19 pandemic

Lawrence said the message to the public is easy.  “Leave wildlife lone unless sick, injured or orphaned.”

She added it’s impossible to prevent bad things from happening, and in most cases said it’s important for mother nature to take its course.

Before any action is taken by residents, Lawrence said people should contact Salthaven West for advice.

COVID-19 restrictions on human movement may be responsible for increased sightings of wildlife
COVID-19 restrictions on human movement may be responsible for increased sightings of wildlife

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