A donated towel warms a merlin chick. Photo supplied

A donated towel warms a merlin chick. Photo supplied

MARS Moment: 2021 shaping up to be a record-setting year for animal rescues

Submitted by Jane Sproull Thomson

Special to Black Press

With the pandemic, people are staying home and exploring the local trails, and keeping MARS Wildlife Hospital busy as they discover more animals and birds in distress.

After receiving over 1,100 animals last year – a 41 per cent increase over 2019 – MARS is on track to match or surpass that figure in 2021. Usually, we have international students helping while they learn on the job, but with travel restrictions we have had to depend more than usual on local volunteers, who have been throwing themselves into the many and varied tasks demanded.

In addition to the raptors, 47 fawns, 59 raccoons, seven red squirrels, seven common seal pups, an opossum, and a black bear cub were taken in. The seal pups, opossum, and bear cub were later transferred to more specialized rescue facilities.

Six of the species treated at the hospital are ‘red listed’ or endangered, which means we could lose the species entirely: these include the two barn owls, a northern fulmar, a goshawk, a painted turtle, and a western grebe. Blue listed ‘of special concern’ species included band-tailed pigeons, California gulls, great blue herons, and the pygmy owl, peregrine falcons, and western screech owl.

Please don’t try to treat a wild bird or animal yourself. These traumatized victims often have infections as well as injuries and urgently need professional care. It is unsafe for both you and the animal to keep it any longer than absolutely necessary. Incidentally, it is also illegal. Please call us – we can come and pick it up if you cannot bring it in yourself.

Volunteer with MARS

Lots of volunteer opportunities to get involved at MARS are on offer this month. We have been busy landscaping the property around the Visitor Centre to create natural areas for trail interpretation as well as a native garden, and the new fawn ‘house’ and enclosure are taking shape. At the Visitor Centre we are anxiously awaiting Dr. Henry’s advice for re-opening!

animal welfareComox Valley

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


A goshawk chick awaits dinner at MARS. Photo submitted

A goshawk chick awaits dinner at MARS. Photo submitted

Just Posted

A bear is seen walking down Alderwood Place in east Courtenay Sunday (May 9) morning. Video screenshot/Kristie Cave
Video: Bears spotted throughout Comox Valley

Hide food sources, keep garbage away: conservation

Carter Woods was first across the line at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, Saturday in Altstadt, Germany. File photo
Cumberland mountain biker wins World Cup race in Germany

Carter Woods of Cumberland won a World Cup mountain bike race Saturday… Continue reading

The flowers of Darmera peltata (Indian rhubarb) before the leaves emerge. Photo by Leslie Cox
DUCHESS OF DIRT: Plenty of ‘wow’ factor in the garden in spring

Leslie Cox Special to The Record I can’t help it. I like… Continue reading

WestJet in flight. Black Press file photo
Two COVID exposures on WestJet flight into Comox

The BC Centre for Disease Control has posted advisories for two separate… Continue reading

Guenther’s efforts are aimed at persons in need. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Courtenay group provides showers of chivalry for those in need

Guenther just got federal tax status for Wiseland Humanitarian Association

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

The only access to 5th Street bridge heading east (toward Lewis Park) is via Anderton Avenue. Photo by Terry Farrell.
Single lane alternating traffic controls on Courtenay bridge now in effect

Single lane alternating traffic on the 5th Street Bridge is now in… Continue reading

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are in the Comox Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Suspected bird strike on Snowbirds plane during training in Comox

Pilot followed protocols and landed the aircraft on the ground without any problems

The Village on Third in Nanaimo won the Judges’ Choice award as top overall entry at the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards. (Photo submitted)
Top developments north of the Malahat honoured by Vancouver Island Real Estate Board

Nanaimo’s Village on Third takes top honour at VIREB Commercial Building Awards

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

An adult male yellow-breasted chat is shown in this undatd photograph on lands protected in collaboration between the En’owkin Centre and Penticton Indian Band with support through ECCC. The rescue from near extinction for a little yellow bird hinges on the wild rose in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, a researcher says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, A. Michael Bezener/ En’owkin Centre 2020 *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Rare yellow birds need wild roses to survive in British Columbia: researcher

The importance of local wild roses emerged over a nearly 20-year experiment

RCMP officers search around rows of luggage carts as screens block off an area of the sidewalk after a shooting outside the international departures terminal at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Police say gang conflict in Metro Vancouver may be behind shooting death at airport

Police said this generation of gangsters is taking things to new level and have no regard for community safety

Most Read