If you don't want skunks in your yard, don't invite them! Being proactive and keeping skunks out of your yard is a better solution than trying to remove them after they have arrived. Did you know that trapping and relocating can actually make the problem worse? Taking away a skunk without removing what brought it in will only lead to another taking its place. Altering the population can lead to females having bigger litters to compensate.
With the recent donation of $70,000 by Ruth Bower we have been able to install the heat pipes, rough-in plumbing, and pour the concrete floor. The shingles were installed and the windows placed. The freezer room has just gone in and the doors are on their way. The indoor wall construction began this week and it's really starting to feel like a building now. March was a very busy and exhausting month as dedicated and cherished volunteers worked to prepare the areas for the professional trades. Thanks to CB Construction, Pidherney's, Cobijar Consulting, Harriman Lumber, and Hurricane Truck & Bobcat for their generous price reductions. Thanks to DJ Will Construction for their ongoing support.
We have just received word that Ruth & Dorothy Bower have decided to contribute once again to the project by giving a further $100,000 to match the funds that we have applied for from the Community Facility Enhancement Program! We'll receive word in July for the final $125,000 to complete the hospital project.
Olds College has implemented a new program, "Stream Your Dream", which sees students explore other areas of specialty animal care besides the usual vet clinics. These areas can include onsite veterinary specialties to horse ranches and wildlife rehab centres. This spring’s students, Alyson and Jessica, spent the first week of April looking at our information and asking questions to better understand our work.
With much of our focus being on the rebuild of the wildlife hospital, this important project has fallen by the wayside. We are now resurrecting it as our current flight enclosures are close to being unusable. Without proper flight pens we will not be able to take raptors in for rehabilitation.
Porcupine tend to be one of the misunderstood animals that live around Alberta, but are truly one of our staff favourites. Numerous urban myths surround them, leaving people in fear of these quiet, gentle creatures.
Porcupine are Canada’s second largest rodent, with the beaver being the largest. We most often think of rodents, like mice, breeding often and having large litters but interestingly porcupine multiply very differently. Females breed in a rather vocal, interesting breeding dance and are then pregnant for 7 months and deliver only one “porcupette”. Twins are considered very rare. These adorable little babies are fully developed with teeth and quills at birth. They are not carefully nurtured by the female and are often weaned by the age of 10 days. They spend the summer following the female and learning from her behaviour.
They are covered in 30,000 hollow, modified hairs called quills that are their only protection from predators. They can’t shoot these quills but do have a flat, strong tail covered in the largest of the quills that can strike an attacker with lightning speed, giving the illusion that they shot the quills. They are not filled with air so it does not help to cut a quill before pulling it from your dog’s face; it really makes the quill harder to grip and pull out.
Porcupines love to eat the inner bark of trees, dandelions, and other vegetation. If they are “loving” your plants or trees you can use a spray that can be purchased at any garden store, Bobbex, to protect your yard. This spray needs only to be reapplied every three months so is very long lasting and effective for porcupine and others like hare, deer, and voles.
Porcupine are hunted by such predators as Coyote, Cougar, Bear, Wolf, Fishers, and Great Horned Owls.
We are very excited to announce that some of Alberta’s nature centres are receiving funding from the Climate Change Fund.
After spending the winter eating several cases of fish, hanging out with the ducks and geese in our pond, testing our creative abilities, and avoiding the long migration, our Great Blue Heron has been put back in the wild.
We are very thankful to the Ponoka Fish & Game Association for their gift of $1000 which enables us to purchase proper rescue equipment, including on water and in trees. They also donated a lovely trailer in which to haul it all! We regularly get calls requesting our help in dicey situations and we have had to recruit help from others. Now we're prepared to take it on ourselves!