If 2015 was the year of the bear at Critter Care rehabilitation centre, 2016 is the year of coyotes and fawns, said founder Gail Martin.
At one point last year 32 orphaned or injured bear cubs crowded the wildlife rescue facility in Campbell Valley Park.
This year, the picture is quite different.
“We have 19 coyotes and 18 fawns, and counting,” said Martin. “We had to enlarge the fawn enclosure and actually put in a tunnel linking it to another enclosure just to make room.”
The increased numbers are the result of habitat loss and human intervention.
“Mom will leave her babies in tall grass, and they will lie still there while she goes out to graze,” said Martin. “But people see that as an abandoned fawn and feel the need to rescue it.
“The best plan is to monitor the situation and see if mom returns. If a fawn is crying and stressed then, yes, she has likely been orphaned, and then give us a call.”
Only two bear cubs remain at Critter Care from last year’s intake. The rest have been released to remote, undisclosed locations over the past few months.
The wildlife centre will hold its open house on July 16 and 17, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
This is the only time of the year the facility is open to the public, when the animals can be viewed. Tours, led by volunteers, give visitors a chance to get up close to baby raccoons, fawns, otters, beavers and skunks.
Township firefighters will be there with one of their engines. There will be a craft table for the kids as well as face painting, mascots, Bucky the Beaver and a dunk tank.
Entertainment includes West Coast Thunder Drill Team, a wildlife rescue helicopter landing, Native carver and story teller Randy Tait and more. Langley Area Mostly British (LAMB) Motoring Club will display their vehicles on Saturday. A massage therapist is offering free 10-minute massages.
The barbecue food stop will be on site and the four Campbell Valley wineries — Backyard Vineyards, Vista D’oro, Chaberton Estate Winery and Township 7 — will sell glass stemware, with proceeds going to Critter Care.
Critter Care is located at 481 216 St. Guests are advised to sign up for the guided tour as soon as they arrive.
Donations of facial tissues, paper towels, bleach and baby blankets are appreciated.
Admission is $2 for adults; kids are admitted free.