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Northern B.C. wildlife shelter struggles amid gas price spike

The cost of feeding baby animals and transporting wildlife is more than shelter budgeted for
The shelter released Bobcat Luke back into his natural habitat in May. (Photo: Northern Lights Wildlife Society).

The Northern Lights Wildlife Society (NLWS) is raising funds to continue the shelter’s conservation work amid rising gas prices.

This year, the cost of running the shelter has already added up to more than co-founder Angelika Langen expected.

“We are currently in the process of releasing 71 black bears and five grizzlies that we raised from last year, all over the province. We are looking at travelling 33,000 kilometres, plus having three helicopter flights,” said Langen.

The shelter estimates the helicopter flights will cost a total of $25,000, plus $8,000 for gas and oil changes.

When it comes to feeding the wildlife, each species needs a different kind of milk replacement, which must be ordered from the United States where shipping costs are reflective of hiked gas prices.

READ MORE: Wildlife shelter releasing record number of bears

The shelter is already caring for 11 baby bears, two baby moose and a baby fox from this season, Langen said.

New arrivals enter the shelter’s care every day and everything has become more expensive than anticipated, she said. Feeding the wildlife 900 lbs of food daily costs the shelter about $650 per day.

In addition to its own fundraising efforts, specifically its M&M (Milk and Miles) campaign, the NLWS is participating in the Great Canadian Giving Challenge in hope of recouping costs.

Registered charity Canada Helps organizes the Great Canadian Giving Challenge raffle annually. From June 1 until June 30, each dollar donated to the Northern Lights Wildlife Society through Canada Helps’ donor website is an entry for the society in a $20,000 raffle.

Alternatively, people can donate gas and oil change gift cards by mail to support the society’s work, Langen said. Community members can find more information on how to send gift cards and monetary donations to the shelter on the the NLWS website.

Another way community members can support the well-being of local wildlife is by checking with a conservation officer or wildlife shelter before moving any young animals, Langen said.

Sometimes, people see wildlife young alone and take the animal home before the parents can return.

“It is really important to check first, and make sure they are not kidnapping a baby.”

One silver lining: the shelter is doing well with a great team of volunteers and relationships remain strong between the group and conservation officers in the area.

“That is all good, but what we need is the funds to make it happen,” Langen concluded.

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Baby black bear Luna is in the shelter’s care. (Photo: Northern Lights Wildlife Society).

About the Author: Morgana Adby, Local Journalism Initiative

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