North Island Wildlife Recovery Center

North Island Wildlife Recovery Center 1
Author: Mike Anderson, MABRRI Student Researcher

Throughout our adventures in the MABR we’ve had few wildlife sightings; with that in mind, Sarah, Ryan, and I visited the North Island Wildlife Recovery Center in Errington. The center is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of wildlife on Vancouver Island and increasing public awareness of wildlife issues through education. A large part of the center's operations is focused on the rehabilitation of injured or displaced wildlife--mostly raptors and black bears. Self-guided and guided tours are available to the public.

We started our tour with a visit with Knut the black bear who was born in captivity at the center in 1996. Knut looked at us curiously as he wandered back and forth in his enclosure. The next stop on the tour was the raptor enclosure. A variety of birds were present such as Sandor (bald eagle), Trickster (raven), King Alfred (golden eagle), Igor (turkey vulture) and Elsa (snowy owl). The atmosphere was exciting (and noisy!) as the raptors flew around their enclosures. Trickster, the raven, keenly looked at us with a mischievous grin while Emily, the Saker falcon, happily played with a stick.

After viewing the raptors, we casually roamed the garden area of the centre. Sarah spotted a red-wing blackbird casually flying around the bird feeder (finally a photo!). I excitedly snapped a few photos of honey bees with our new telephoto lens. The last stop of the tour was viewing Helen and Paddington, two orphaned black bear cubs. Helen and Paddington are being rehabilitated as they were both separated from their mother in the wild. They are only able to be viewed via a live webcam, to ensure they have as little human contact as possible. The twins looked like they were having fun together rolling a ball around and climbing on logs. We concluded our tour with a stop at the centre’s gift shop where we browsed through books on the region and clothing. All in all it was a great day spent in the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region!

Adventure tips:

  • The NIWRC is open from 9 AM to 5 PM seven days a week. Admission rates are $8 for adults (13 and over) and $5 for kids (3 to 12 years). Children under 3 get in for free.

  • A number of animals can be adopted including bear cubs and raptors. The cost is $25. (You don't get to take the black bear home... Your money supports the food and living costs of the animal you've decided to "adopt.")

  • Be sure to check out Sandor the bald eagle; he is a very curious bird!

  • Cash and non-cash donations can be made to the centre. Help support the welfare of wildlife on Vancouver Island! For more information on donations and the centre in general please visit the North Island Recovery Centre site