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Manitoulin Transport rescues wildlife rescue centres across Ontario

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For the last several years Manitoulin Transport, based in Gore Bay on Manitoulin Island, has been delivering food, medical supplies and cleaning materials to Ontario Wildlife Rescue centres across the province at no charge.

An undated photo of a Manitoulin Transport truck at one of their Ontario facilities. (File photo/Manitoulin Transport/Facebook)

Food is one of the largest expenses for rescues in Ontario. Several pet food companies and wholesalers donate expired, damaged or discontinued dry pet food to rescue centres – however, getting the food to the centres was once a difficult and expensive process.

Wildlife rescue centres take in injured or orphaned wild animals – including mammals, reptiles and birds – and rehabilitate them to release them back into the wild. The centres are licensed by the Ministry of Natural Resources but do not get support from any level of government with most centres being run wholly by volunteers and completely dependent on the public for support.

In the last two years, Manitoulin Transport has delivered 210 tonnes or 421 skids of food and medical supplies to 23 wildlife rescue centres across the province including the Turtle Pond Wildlife Centre located in the Greater Sudbury community of Val Caron and the largest bear rescue in Ontario, Bear with Us, located in Sprucedale, north of Huntsville. Other locations supported by the hauler’s efforts are in Thunder Bay, Barrie, Cambridge, Cornwall, Huntsville, Kingston, London, Ottawa, Pembroke, Peterborough and St. Catharines.

“Manitoulin Transport’s generous support has made a significant difference to the number of injured and orphaned wild animals that have been saved,” said Sandy Donald, director of Ontario Wildlife Rescue, in a news release.

In a brief phone interview with CTV News earlier this month Donald said what the transport company is doing is nothing short of remarkable.

Ontario Wildlife Rescue’s arrangement with Manitoulin Transport sees donated goods transported and unloaded at the hauler’s hub closest to the rescues – however, according to Donald staff regularly donate their own time to help volunteers load their vehicles or make arrangements with local management to complete delivers right to the rescue.

For the last several years Manitoulin Transport as been delivering food, medical supplies and cleaning materials to Ontario Wildlife Rescue centres across Ontario at no charge. The hauler dropped of a load of 12 skids to Bear with Us wildlife rescue in the Muskoka in June 2024. (Ontario Wildlife Rescue/Sandy Donald)

“Manitoulin Transport and their staff have been simply amazing,” said Donald.

'Hungry as a bear'

Donald said the age-old expression ‘hungry as a bear’ is true.

Manitoulin Transport and their staff delivered 12 skids of dry pet food to Bear with Us wildlife rescue in the Muskoka in June 2024. (Ontario Wildlife Rescue/Sandy Donald)

“Black Bears eat a lot of food especially a month or so after coming out of hibernation in the spring or before hibernating in the fall,” he said.

“They go through a lot of food, especially dried dog food.”

Bear With Us takes in injured and orphaned black bears and can go through more than a skid of dried pet food a week.

In the last two years, Manitoulin Transport has delivered 34 tonnes or 69 skids of food to help feed the black bears at the Muskoka rehab facility for free.

A Manitoulin Transport staff member in the process of dropping off 12 skids of dry pet food to Bear with Us wildlife rescue in the Muskoka in June 2024. (Ontario Wildlife Rescue/Sandy Donald)

Early this month, the hauler dropped off 12 skids of dried food to Bear with Us to help feed the more than 25 black bears that were at the rescue at the time.

Meet Ben

The food delivered by Manitoulin Transport will also be used to feed the bear rescue’s newest guest, Ben.

Ben, a young black bear cub, was captured on June 26, 2024 wandering on Highway 17 near Verner, Ont. after his mother was struck by a vehicle and killed. The cub was transported to Bear with Us wildlife rescue. (Ontario Provincial Police/X)

Last week, on June 26, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers with the Nipissing West detachment assisted Bear with Us, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and the Springer Animal Hospital in capturing Ben, a bear cub that had been wandering Highway 17 in Verner, Ont., for some time.

“The cub had been alone for several days after the mother was struck by a vehicle,” said the OPP in a recent social media post.

“Ben is now on his way to the Bear With Us.”

On June 26, 2024, Ontario Provincial Police officers with the Nipissing West detachment assisted Bear with Us, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and the Springer Animal Hospital in capturing Ben, a bear cub that had been wandering Highway 17 in Verner, Ont. (Ontario Provincial Police/X)

The bear rescue put out a PSA from one of its permanent residents, Bennie, the following day asking drivers to be careful over the Canada Day long weekend.

Bennie, a permanent resident at Bear with Us wildlife rescue in Sprucedale, Ont. June 27, 2024. (Molly Bear and Friends/Facebook)

“Bennie wants to warn everyone to drive very carefully if you are behind the wheel on the long weekend and watch for the wildlife on the roads because animals are also going somewhere too to celebrate the weekend,” said the rescue in a social media post.

Bennie expressed thanks to everyone who is heeding the advice because 10 years ago when he was a young cub he was hit by a car and that is why he is now a permanent resident at Bear With Us.

“Thank you beary much,” read the post. 

More inforamtion on Ontario Wildlife Rescue, their centres and operation, visit their website and information on how you can help can be found here.

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