It’s been a bustling year of welcoming babies to the Critter Care Wildlife Society in Langley, where the animals will now celebrate their first holiday season.
“It’s been a hard year for a lot of people… I never thought I would see this in my lifetime,” said founder Gail Martin, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a result of the novel coronavirus the facility was unable to host its annual open house and spring gala fundraising events.
“That’s probably at least $100,000 we lost with those two events,” Martin estimated.
Now, the facility is including the animals in the gift giving with its Christmas Fur All campaign.
“Our animals are only in care for as long as they need to, nothing stays over a year,” the campaign reads. “Let us make this holiday something they will never forget; they will only get one!”
The public can donate to the campaign from a list of supplies including a new bedding for a bear, pumpkin pie for a raccoon or a rubber ducky for an otter, among many other items.
Fundraising wasn’t the only challenge Critter Care faced this year.
The facility also relies on its internship program to organize additional support during the busy season that runs mid-March to September each year, but that was interrupted as well.
“Because a lot of our interns are international they couldn’t come in,” Martin explained. “All around it was a difficult year, but the staff I have, they’re amazing.”
And that staff will be at the Langley-based facility during the holidays providing around-the-clock care for the approximately 75 animals on-site.
“There is staff that live on-site, so there are always people there 24/7,” Martin said.
The facility is coming off a busy season where they saw “a lot of late babies this year,” but things are starting to slow down as the bears enter hibernation, Martin elaborated.
Aside from bears Critter Care is also home to raccoons and river otters.
“Raccoons don’t hibernate, but when it’s cold, they do slow down,” Martin explained. “The river otters love the cold, they love the ice.”
Although the work is beginning to level off for staff, Martin said things can unexpectedly get busy as the facility expects to see emaciated animals starving, or injured.
“[We] get more injured animals in the winter than the spring,” she said, noting how food sources can be scarce.
Although Critter Care was unable to raise money through its traditional fundraising events, Martin thanked the public for their generous donations.
“All in all we’ve been able to get through,” she said.
To learn more or to donate visit www.crittercarewildlife.org.