We received a report of two skunks on the riverbank in Red Deer - one stuck and the other dead. Staff was sent and the healthy one was able to get free and ran away while the ”dead” one was found to still be breathing. She was scooped up and faithfully administered heat and treatment. By the evening she was up and interested in food. The next day she had made a full recovery!
After years of not being a part of the parade in Red Deer, we were very happy to celebrate and join in on all the fun once again. We have used the same skit during the walk since we first took part 30 years ago, and it's still just as popular. A huge thanks to our summer interns for putting on a great show!
We are very excited to have a small reception room open to the public the first part of August!
With the recent change to our intern program, we now have seven fun and eager young volunteers working from May through August/September.
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 the raptor flight enclosure project has fallen by the wayside. We are now resurrecting it as our current cages 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.