Wildlife lovers have two opportunities to help the Island’s critters this month. The North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre is hosting a silent auction and bidders can try to snag their prize both online and in-person.
“We contacted a number of businesses that we thought people would be interested in,” said the centre’s administrative director Amy Andreasen.
Currently, the prize selection includes whale watching tours, winery tours, massages, restaurant gift certificates, snow tubing passes, golf, an espresso machine and yoga classes. There is also a selection of wildlife art, including a soap stone sculpture of two Orca fins carved by Vancouver artist Pat Robinson and an original painting of Sandor, a resident bald eagle at NIWRC, by Michael Schutte.
“I really love this recovery centre. They do a really good job,” said Parksville-based Schutte. “If it works out well, we’d like to do this again.”
The fundraising campaign began Oct. 1 and will conclude on Nov. 23. Currently, bidding is available online through the group’s auction page which is run by biddingowl.com. People can also place their bids in prize binders kept beside the front desk at the Recovery Centre.
Those same binders will be moved to the Winterfest Christmas Craft Fair in the Parksville Community and Conference Centre on Nov. 21 – 23. Representatives of the organization will be there to manage the bidding, as well as answer questions about the centre. Oliver the barred owl and two other resident birds will also make rotating guest appearances at the event.
Andreasen reminds bidders to keep checking back online and the at centre as new prizes are added every week.
According to Gary Statham, a volunteer at the centre, the auction has already raised $1,000. However, the NIWRC hopes to raise $5,000 through this silent auction. Funds will go to help ill, injured and orphaned Vancouver Island wildlife at the organization’s Errington location.
According to assistant wildlife manager Julie Mackey, there are 30 full-time resident animals at the centre. There are also around 20 animals in for rehabilitation at the moment and she expects the numbers to rise during winter. Per year, she said the centre regularly sees around 300 animals.
That’s a lot of mouths to feed and when you factor in medical costs, running the NIWRC can get expensive. Andreasen said it takes over $18,000 to care and feed a bear, and the centre currently has three in for rehab and one adult named Knut who lives there permanently.
“Everything helps,” she said.
To bid online, visit niwra.org and follow the link on their homepage.