Sudbury's Turtle Pond Wildlife Centre's mandate expands
SUDBURY -- Volunteers at Turtle Pond Wildlife Centre have been busier than usual this winter, after opening its doors to a wide variety of wildlife last year.
Located in the Greater Sudbury community of Val Caron, Turtle Pond Wildlife Centre, was built in 2016 to rehabilitate turtles, but just last year the facility's mandate expanded after another local wildlife centre in the city closed down.
"We tried to help as many different species as we could and so our admissions went up from about 200 up to 750 last year. So, it was a real struggle," said Gloria Morissette, the centre's founder. "We spent the whole summer just getting new infrastructure put in to deal with songbirds, mammals and trying to stay focused on the turtles."
With the centre being the only rehabilitation location in the northeast, the facility now has a wide range of animals.
Morissette said because of the recent intake, all of the outdoor enclosures are currently full.
"We have 11 raccoons that we are overwintering, most of them were late babies so they weren't mature enough to be released in the fall," Morissette said. "We also have foxes that have come in with mange. It was a really bad year for bear orphans this year. So, we took in 11 bear cubs and they are currently hibernating in some of our back enclosures."
She said this centre would not be possible without help from all the volunteers. The centre has a core group of 15 individuals who come in once or twice a week.
"It's just a life of animals that keeps me coming back, and it's the release of the animals too. Seeing them rehabilitated and let back into the wild. It's so rewarding," said volunteer Barb Brown.
"I do a lot of the rescues. I get calls from Gloria a lot saying 'can you go pick this up?' and I'll never say 'no," said volunteer Judy Miller. "I go even in this kind of weather. I love working with the animals."
Last year, Morissette said the expenses were close to $40,000, which is why she says donations are so vital to ensure the centre can continue operating on a daily basis.