Family fun with the animals

Participants in a past Family Day event at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre in Errington get a feel for what it’s like to be a caged animal on display. Word is, they loved every minute of it.  - Brenda Gough
Participants in a past Family Day event at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre in Errington get a feel for what it’s like to be a caged animal on display. Word is, they loved every minute of it.
— image credit: Brenda Gough

If you are looking for a wildlife experience for the whole family this weekend you should consider a visit to the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre at 1240 Leffler Road in Errington.

On Saturday, September 10, the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre will be holding its annual Family Day from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Admission is by donation and all proceeds help the non-profit organization continue to care for ill, injured and orphaned wildlife.

Some of the activities for the day include a craft table, games, treasure and scavenger hunt, bouncy castle and food and refreshments. Monk will be there with interactive art, and glove-trained owls Bardo and Oliver will also be on hand.

The NIWRA is well known in Oceanside, and has gained an international reputation for the care and rehabilitation it provides to a wide variety of injured wildlife.

Robin and Sylvia Campbell have dedicated their lives to alleviating suffering of wild creatures and releasing them back to the wild.

Sylvia admits they couldn’t achieve their mandate without the help of dedicated volunteers and said they will have more than a dozen people helping out for the big event on Saturday.

“It’s going to be a crazy day. It is very popular and we are glad people want to come out and spend the day,” she said.

Sylvia said the event, which they host twice a year is an affordable way for families to visit and learn about wildlife and environmental issues.

She said there will be a concession, but people are welcome to bring a picnic lunch. She adds there will be a free draw for a family season pass.

The staff and volunteers are experts at caring for all sorts of wildlife at the Errington facility which is situated on eight acres and gives the opportunity for the public to view non-releasable owls, eagles, turkey vulture, hawks, falcons, raven, Vancouver Island black bear and much more.

Sylvia said the opportunity has passed to see their bear cubs being fed but you can still see furry creatures on the closed circuit television.

She said they usually keep the bears for about 18 months and if all goes well they could be candidates for release in the spring or fall.

In the meantime she said they welcome any donations of seasonal fruit and berries to feed to the bears.

She said they prefer the whole branch with its fruit and leaves still attached, that way the bears can eat the sweet treats the way they would in the wild.

“People have been dropping off fruit from their trees so we’ve been spoiling the bears lately with apples and plums”, she said.

She said it’s a great feeling knowing the bears will be released and they couldn’t have done it without the support of the community.

“People have been generous,” she continued. “It’s always a struggle but people have responded to our plea to help with the bears.”

For more information visit their website at www.niwra.org.

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