These baby opossums are being cared for at Elizabeth’s Wildlife Centre in Abbotsford. (Vikki Hopes/Abbotsford News)

VIDEO: Elizabeth’s Wildlife Centre sees busiest season yet

Donations needed to help with supplies and operation of Fraser Valley site

The inhabitants of Elizabeth’s Wildlife Centre in Abbotsford can be demanding little creatures.

They require constant feeding, medical checks and cage cleanings.

Just when Elizabeth Melnick and her helpers get through all the birds, bunnies, squirrels and opossums that need attention, they have to start all over again.

Melnick is on her feet seven days a week from 6 a.m. to midnight, just trying to stay caught up – and the phone keeps ringing.

She said in her three decades of running the wildlife centre, she’s never seen it so busy.

“You release them (back into the wild) but then you get a whole handful more. It’s chaos,” Melnick said.

The centre, located off Downes Road in central Abbotsford, is the only one of its kind in the Fraser Valley, and takes in abandoned, sick and injured small animals from areas that include Chilliwack, Agassiz, Hope, Mission and Langley. (Critter Care in Langley does similar work, but handles larger animals such as bears, raccoons and deer.)

The creatures are nursed to health and then released back into the wild whenever possible.

Melnick said she is currently receiving about 25 new animals a day that come from circumstances such as their homes being destroyed by development, birds being wounded by cats, and ducks getting entangled in fishing line.

Melnick can’t bear to turn any creature away, even crows and pigeons.

“I just can’t bring myself to discriminate. Everybody has a place … I think they’re all majestic,” she said.

But these demands mean that Melnick could always use more help to keep the facility running. She said the clinic needs to be staffed daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

She applied for government funding this year for eight full-time interns through the summer, but was approved for only three half-time spots and only until the first week of July.

But that’s when she expects another surge in animals brought to the centre, due to a new population of “babies” being born.

Melnick does have some volunteers, but it’s difficult to keep them and time-consuming to train new ones.

She relies mainly on donations to fund the expenses at the centre – about $130,000 in the last fiscal year – and this summer hopes to increase that funding in order to keep on her summer interns longer.

Those interested in making a donation can do so online at elizabethswildlifecenter.org. The centre also accepts donations of items such as puppy pads (for cage liners), bird seed, baby food, paper towels, Kleenex, garbage bags and dry cat/dog food.

Call 604-852-9173 for more information or to arrange drop-off. (Melnick prefers not to publish the address of the facility, because she doesn’t want people leaving animals there without first calling.)

Visit elizabethswildlifecenter.org for more information.

 

Elizabeth Melnick checks in on one of the creatures inhabiting Elizabeth’s Wildlife Centre. (Vikki Hopes/Abbotsford News)

Elizabeth Melnick holds two young opossums being cared for at Elizabeth’s Wildlife Centre in Abbotsford. (Vikki Hopes/Abbotsford News)

Just Posted

Fraser Valley community leaders come together to build a stronger more vibrant future

Event convened by Grant Thornton LLP and is part of the firm’s Vibrant Communities initiative

New program offers job support for 55 and older

STRIDE program offered by Archway Community Services in Abbotsford

Sweeney Singers host annual Christmas concert in Abbotsford

Event takes place Saturday, Dec. 21 at St. James Church

SLIDESHOW: The Fraser Valley Auto Mall food drive and convoy

Convoy heads down South Fraser Way, delivers food and money to the Archway Food Bank of Abbotsford

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

VIDEO: Giants edged out by Everett

Another case where Vancouver outshot an opponent, but couldn’t get past the other goalie

Sharks beat Canucks 4-2 to snap 6-game skid

Vancouver visits Vegas on Sunday

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Surrey councillor wants the policing transition process to ‘immediately stop’

Brenda Locke to make motion at Dec. 16 meeting to reconsider current plan

Man pleads guilty to second-degree murder in 2017 Stanley Park stabbing

Lubomir Kunik was found by a man out walking his dog on the beach late on Feb. 1, 2017

Most Read