Animal rescue agencies are a familiar part of Langley. They ensure dogs, cats, rabbits and even farm animals are cared for. But what about wild animals? Who do they have to care for them when things go wrong? Critter Care Wildlife Society.
Critter Care takes in injured and orphaned native B.C. mammals. Squirrels to raccoons, bears to deer and everything in between. Stimuli was fortunate to speak with Winona Reinsma, the Vice President of Critter Care, to learn about the organization and its upcoming fundraiser that features artist-painted, one-of-a-kind chairs – but more about that in a bit.
WHAT IS CRITTER CARE?
We rescue, rehabilitate and release native B.C. mammals, Winona says. It’s all about giving these animals a second chance at life. When they are released they are mature enough and strong enough to return to the wild.
Critter Care is not a zoo or even a viewing facility. The animals brought in generally only have limited human interaction so that their future release back into the wild is successful and they aren’t desensitized to humans.
Gail and Richard Martin opened their home in Brookswood as an animal refuge in 1984. In 1993 Critter Care was incorporated as a federally registered charitable organization. When the number of animals they cared for grew beyond their limits of their home, taking in over 360 animals a year, they needed a better solution. In 1998 they established the facility in Campbell Valley Park in partnership with the GVRD, explains Winona.
Gail also developed an intern program to assist her with taking care of the native mammals that arrive at Critter Care. These amazing volunteers come from all over the world, donate their time and manage everything from weaning to teaching the animals life skills. They ultimately become their mother.
SPECIES SPECIFIC MILK AND OTHER EXPENSES
While volunteers take care of a lot of the manpower needs, the expenses of running Critter Care are significant. Species-specific milk alone costs the organization in excess of $40,000 a year. It has to be species specific because it certainly wouldn’t work to feed a baby bear cow’s milk!
It’s a pretty incredible place and an extraordinary contribution towards saving our wildlife, she says. It’s all about the animals.
Helping animals also involves getting out in the community and volunteers spend time at events to educate people about local wildlife and encourage donations for the cause which has a ripple effect into everyone’s life.
Saving about 2,000 B.C. mammals a year requires medical supplies, facilities, appropriate enclosures, fencing and more. The money that keeps Critter Care operating comes from donations from caring individuals, corporations and businesses.
We really rely on the support of the member program, corporate donations and funds raised at our three main fundraisers each year, Winona says. The big one coming up on April 22 is our annual dinner, live and silent auction.
THIS YEAR’S 18TH ANNUAL DINNER, LIVE AND SILENT AUCTION
This year’s dinner is even more spectacular than usual because of 10 extremely unique prizes. While the annual event is always amazing due to its ability to support the rehabilitation of wildlife – not to mention more than a few great prizes – this year’s special feature prizes are the 10 Adirondack chairs local artists created custom images on.
They were on display in Willowbrook Shopping Centre and got a great response, Winona notes. They will also be at Potter’s Nursery, which is a wonderful supporter of Critter Care, from April 7 to 9 for everyone to take a look at.
If you see the chairs and love them, you’ll want to purchase tickets for the full buffet dinner event on April 22nd at just $65 each because that is the ONLY way to get your hands on one of them. Each chair will be auctioned off separately at the dinner.
They are just amazing, Winona says of the chairs. Each artist created their own design and they are all so different. One features raccoons, another has three bears and yet another has names of various animals Critter Care has saved. Each is a one-of-a-kind, 2017 edition chair and we are so proud and delighted local artists jumped on board to support Critter Care.
Can’t make it to the dinner? Sign up to be part of the Critter Care Gold Club. This is a new program people can be part of without spending extra money each month – it’s simply choosing to spend in a way that helps Critter Care fund their species specific milk needs.
Find out more about Critter Care or purchase tickets by calling 604-530-2054. To make a donation for the live or silent auction or to support animal needs, contact Winona at 778-246-2547.