Once a year, community members get the exclusive opportunity to go behind the scenes and learn about the lifesaving work done by the BC SPCA Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (ARC) in Metchosin.
The facility, which isn’t normally open to the public due to the sensitive nature of the animals in its care, holds an open house every year during its slower season to engage with the public and tour them around its 10-acre property.
“It’s one of our major outreach events, there is no cost and it’s really just our opportunity to be able to show people what we do and how we care for 3,000 animals a year,” said Andrea Wallace, manager of animal welfare at Wild ARC.
The facility looks after approximately 140 different animal species per year in a range of enclosures. Each one requires different care, but the ultimate goal is to rehabilitate them and release them back into the wild. The animals come from all over the Capital Regional District, the Gulf Islands and further up the Island as well. They are often injured, sick or potentially orphaned.
Wallace said the facility gets a lot of babies in the summer season that are orphaned for many reasons such as its mom getting hit by a car or flying into a window.
“We basically raise them until they’re old enough to survive on their own,” Wallace said.
Wild ARC typically isn’t open to the public since the animals there are already traumatized and require some peace.
However, March is a slow period for the facility so they are able to move some animals into a different area and open its doors to the public.
This year, the open house takes place on March 28 and 29. Those that would like to attend have to reserve a spot online for a tour time between noon and 4 p.m. Registration opened on March 1 and Wallace said the event is already half-booked.
Each tour takes about 40 guests and lasts about an hour.
It takes them around the property, features some educational raptors and has various information booths from organizations like the Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary and the Burrowing Owl Society. The open house is free to the public as well.
Anyone interested in registering for the event can visit spca.bc.ca/events/event/wild-arc-open-house/. Those visiting the property are advised to arrive 20 minutes early and dress for the weather as well as some rocky, steep terrain. The open house runs rain or shine.
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