Wildlife rehabilitation shelter witnessed dramatic increase in animal intake last year

By Michael Boriero - Local Journalism Initiative
Wildlife rehabilitation shelter witnessed dramatic increase in animal intake last year
(Photo : Jean Roy)

The Refuge Lobadanaki, a rehabilitation shelter and sanctuary for wild animals and birds in Saint-Étienne-de-Bolton, took in a record number of injured and abandoned critters in 2021.

According to Refuge Lobadanaki co-owner Anne-Marie Demers, there were 502 wild animals and birds that passed through the shelter last year. She told The Record that the shelter has been increasing its admission numbers by roughly 20 to 30 per cent every year since 2017.

Demers said most of the animals are reintroduced into the wild, while some are sent to larger rehabilitation facilities, or humanely euthanized if they are too weak to recover from their injuries. But, she explained, the latter option is a last resort, and it’s rare at her shelter.

“We’re pro-life here, so when an animal has problems, if they can’t survive in nature, but they can survive in captivity, we’ll often choose to keep them at the refuge and give them a living space, but we do euthanize out of compassion,” she said in a phone interview.

In those cases, though, the animals either die on their way to her medical centre, or when they’re on the operating table. Demers added that this year was particularly challenging due to the limited space in her medical centre. It was difficult to accommodate over 500 animals.

If there was more space, the shelter could work on rehabilitating more animals, she said, adding that if it wasn’t for her team of 16 permanent volunteers, it would have been next to impossible to handle the amount of animals and birds the shelter took in this past year.

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