The Northern Lights Wildlife Society (NLWS) is raising money to continue the refuge’s conservation work amid rising gasoline prices.
This year, the cost of running the shelter has already exceeded co-founder Angelika Langen’s expectations.
“We are currently in the process of releasing 71 black bears and five grizzly bears that we raised last year, across the province. We plan to travel 33,000 kilometers and perform three helicopter flights,” Langen said.
The shelter estimates helicopter flights will cost a total of $25,000, plus $8,000 for gas and oil changes.
When it comes to feeding wildlife, each species requires a different type of milk replacement, which must be ordered from the United States where shipping costs reflect gasoline prices.
The shelter is already caring for 11 baby bears, two baby moose and a baby fox this season, Langen said.
New arrivals are cared for by the shelter every day and everything has become more expensive than expected, she said. Feeding wildlife 900 pounds of food a day costs the refuge about $650 a day.
In addition to its own fundraising efforts, particularly its M&M (Milk and Miles) campaign, the NLWS participates in the Great Canadian Giving Challenge in hopes of recouping costs.
Registered charity CanadaHelps organizes the annual Great Canadian Charity Challenge raffle. From June 1 through June 30, every dollar donated to the Northern Lights Wildlife Society through the CanadaHelps donor website is an entry for the society in a draw for $20,000.
Alternatively, people can donate gas and oil change gift cards in the mail to support the work of the society, Langen said. Community members can find more information on how to send gift cards and monetary donations to the shelter on the NLWS website.
Another way for community members to support the welfare of local wildlife is to check with a conservation officer or wildlife refuge before moving young animals, Langen said.
Sometimes people see young wild animals alone and bring the animal home before the parents can return.
“It’s really important to check first and make sure they’re not kidnapping a baby.”
On the bright side, the shelter is doing well with a great team of volunteers and relationships remain strong between the group and conservation officers in the area.
“It’s very good, but what we need are the funds to make it happen,” Langen concluded.
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