The Year of the Monkey appears to be shaping up to provide good things for Medicine River Wildlife Centre.

Every fall as waterfowl begin to migrate away from the wetlands they have frequented during the summer, members of the public notice those injured ones are left behind. As you can see from this video, they can be very difficult to rescue as they are still excellent swimmers. Thankfully we have a few willing kayakers who volunteer to take on these rescues. Kayaks are very maneuverable and with two or three of them we can often corral the goose, pelican, or duck that can’t fly. Unfortunately these birds generally cannot be repaired but it does stop them from freezing to death in the winter or other more unpleasant ends.

Mother Nature changed our landscape plan over the past couple of years when she sent us an enormous snow load and a micro burst. All the tree and cage damage was devastating at first but we soon began to see the silver lining in it all. It will mean a lot of work but in the end it will be wonderful. We will have new and improved cages built on our south quarter and a wonderful wetland viewing area as part of the new public wing.

The first stage was to take down the older, damaged, and exposed cages, so we started small. The songbird/small mammal compounds were redesigned to become one cage with four interchangeable quadrants. Next year’s plan will be to take on the rebuilding of the hawk and eagle enclosures. This will be a much larger project but we will be seeking the assistance of our supporters to accomplish the job. Perhaps we will even try another crowdfunding project to secure some funds.

Fostering Researchers, Judy Boyd and Carol Kelly were so well received during their presentation on fostering orphaned wildlife in Princeton, NJ this past spring that they have been asked to present at the California Conference this fall. The method of fostering wild orphans into wild families instead of captive-raising is becoming well received and Judy and Carol have so much to offer with their experiences perfecting the method. Attending these conferences is never one-sided as we reap the benefits of all those other papers that others present and we love the networking!

Fostering and re-homing of orphaned or displaced wildlife saves costs, facilities, and workload but best of all allows the orphans to be raised by wild families. Wild parents offer them training in survival skills that cannot be taught in captivity by humans.

The number of patients has increased once again this year with over 2000 injured, orphaned and compromised wild critters anticipated to pass through our care before the year is over.

The increase in calls requesting help with wildlife challenges in the Red Deer area prompted us to hire a Community Wildlife Liaison, Gwenevere Marshall, two years ago.

The summer of 2015 at the Centre began with great spring weather, enthusiastic new staff and volunteers, and a secure operating budget. The challenge was that the Centre’s building was quickly becoming unusable.

This spring we are pleased to announce the addition of two new Hospital Coordinators. Brittany Ginter and Alana Pay bring their interest and education to share the position of Hospital Coordinator. They both have lots to experience and learn and are looking forward to the challenge.

The first of the international volunteers have arrived and are settling in. This year we have 14 volunteers from Germany and England along with 2 local practicum students and 2 work experience students. It's going to be a challenging year so it looks like we will have lots of eager help to get all the work done!

The gentle winter of 2014/15 was truly appreciated by the staff of MRWC. The Centre was running with just 1 part-time hospital staff and the building was on its last legs with the heating system crashing by late winter. The warm weather and lack of snow made it so much easier to function but also brought far less patients than normal. The Centre experienced less than half of the normal patient calls than a normal, more difficult winter. We really will be working hard to get the new hospital in place for next year because we likely won't be as lucky two years in a row.