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Take a peek at the wild side

The BC SPCA’s Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (ARC) on Vancouver Island is hosting an open house on March 29. - Photo submitted
The BC SPCA’s Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (ARC) on Vancouver Island is hosting an open house on March 29.
— image credit: Photo submitted

Ever wonder what wild animals do when they think no one is watching? Now you can find out. From playful raccoons and curious otters to birds, deer, mink and more, the cameras are now rolling at the BCSPCA’s Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (ARC) on Vancouver Island.

“We recognize that people want to see the great work we do, and we want to show them,” says Sara Dubois, chief scientific officer, BCSPCA. “Because our job is to ensure there’s as little human contact as possible to help Wild ARC patients recover and return to a normal life in the wild, live streaming their daily activities gives the public the chance to see them at their unsuspecting best – or worst – usually with food on their faces.”

Wild ARC only opens to the public once a year, during their annual open house event – the 10th annual open house happens from noon to 4 p.m. on March 29 and 30 this year – and while the wild patients will not be on display to avoid stress, there will be educational raptors on site. With upgrades completed on many of the facility’s outdoor enclosures and a new pool pen building that increases Wild ARC staff’s ability to care for sea birds and aquatic animals such as river otters, there is much to see.

Each year, Wild ARC admits nearly 2,500 injured and orphaned wild animals from southern Vancouver Island, and helps approximately 140 different species of wild animals, Dubois notes.

“There are five ‘critter cameras’ with one live streaming at a time,” she says, explaining the live camera will be chosen by staff based on the best animal action at the time. Outdoor cameras showing the pool pen, flight pen, deer pen and raccoon habitat have night viewing as well. “Understandably, our critters are not trained actors, but when the baby raccoons arrive in May, for example, the camera in the nursery will be on.”

Why not get a little wild? Launched to the public this week, the Wild ARC live stream can be viewed at www.spca.bc.ca/crittercam 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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