What started as a volunteer collective is now the only wildlife hospital in Manitoba.
In the town of Ile des Chenes, Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre opens its doors to furry and feathered patients from all parts of the province. Each year thousands of animals make their way to the facility and this year, their executive director is anticipating even more.
"Last year we treated about 2,400 patients but this year already we have surpassed 2,300 already. So we have seen an increase of about 22 per cent already, so the numbers keep getting higher and higher," Zoe Makata says.
Wildlife Haven began as a volunteer group many years ago and has since grown. The combination of awareness and animals in need is driving a recent surge in patients for the rehabilitation facility. After 18 months of hard work, Wildlife Haven is Manitoba's newest and only wildlife hospital.
"The other day we were actually doing a surgery where we're removing a pellet from a gunshot wound in a Red-tailed hawk's wing. So even just saying that out loud I'm still kind of astonished that we're doing this on-site here in Manitoba."
This dream-turned reality brings a lot of changes, including working with the Manitoba Veterinary Medical Association to figure out what the regulations are as they became the first to make this move.
"They were fantastic to work with and to figure out what are the rules that apply for wildlife care and what rules don't apply."
Makata says all they needed next was equipment upgrades and a full-time veterinarian, which they now have. The executive director is anticipating as Manitobans continue to sprawl out, more animals will need their care, where they fly into a brand-new house's windows, are hit by a vehicle, or something else.