© Images Courtesy of Critter Care Wildlife Society
When you grow up in a landscape teeming with wildlife and nature, it’s hard not to feel a calling to care for the life around you. For Gail Martin, founder of Critter Care Wildlife Society, that calling began early in her life and was nurtured as she grew up on Britannia Beach, a small mining town on British Columbia’s west coast.
With a natural talent for caring for animals, Martin made a habit of feeding the critters around her childhood home—including her favourite raccoon, who was regularly treated to peanut butter sandwiches.
As an adult, Martin’s love for wildlife grew, and the basement of home became part animal clinic, with hundreds of animals experiencing tender care in her makeshift wildlife nursery. But as Martin’s knowledge grew and bigger animals needed her help, she and her husband realized that if they were going to create a haven for wildlife, they would need bigger and better accommodations for the animals.
Within months, Critter Care Wildlife Society found a home in Langley, in a 70-year-old farmhouse with five acres of land.
Now, over three decades later, Critter Care rescues, rehabilitates and releases over 3,000 animals each year—and is the only place in Southern British Columbia that focuses on rehabilitating native mammals. Without government funding, Critter Care relies on donations and public funding to continue their important work and expand their capabilities so that even more animals can be rescued, rehabilitated, and released into the wild.
Year after year, Critter Care has expanded, creating temporary homes for native mammals so they can heal and be released. From otters to fawns, raccoons to bears, and more animals that many of us may never see in our own lives, Critter Care ensures that they get the help they need.
Education is also paramount to Critter Care; in its early years, Martin held educational workshops, sharing the importance of wildlife and their needs with the general public and young children. Sparking a love of nature in children and teaching them that their kindness to the animals can make a difference became part of why Critter Care is so beloved by the community.
Now, Critter Care houses an internship program, welcoming young people from across the globe to hone their skills and interest in caring for wildlife. The internship program has reached a new landmark this year, extending invitations to more than 25 collegiate or postgraduate students from nearly every continent, with more to come. Some interns go on to work in animal and wildlife care as veterinarians or vet techs, while others take what they’ve learned to other fields, sharing the importance of caring for animals and knowing that they helped make a difference.
As one of their core values, releasing the animals is crucial. The program focuses on rehabilitation, but the animals in their care are not meant to stay—as wildlife, their home is in the wild. The beauty of British Columbia is in the forests and lakes, mountains and streams, and of course, in the wildlife that inhabits it.
Rehabilitation organizations like Critter Care Wildlife Society are our wildlife’s only chance when they get into trouble. Your donations and support make it possible for wildlife to B.C.’s wildlife to have a safe haven. Learn more about animal care and volunteer opportunities, and donate at crittercarewildlife.org
Get your free copy of Global Heroes, jam-packed with positive news, straight in your inbox.