A Manitoba beaver kit is preparing for a 2,200-kilometre journey.
The kit was discovered with three others in a field in rural Manitoba and turned over to Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre near Ile Des Chenes.
Since then, the kit, who was the sole survivor of its litter, has been recovering at the wildlife centre with the help of staff.
Regular meals, weigh-ins and even swimming lessons are part of the nine-week-old kit's rehab.
And unlike other orphaned animals at the centre, handling the female kit isn't off limits. In fact, young beavers require a lot of socialization.
Hands on orphan
"Beavers, they have a very close-knit, social family structure. The young do live with the parents for two years [and] take care of the next young as well," said Tiffany Lui, the wildlife rehabilitation co-ordinator.
That means centre staff have to pet, handle and talk to the kit as much as possible.
But the centre isn't equipped to care for the animal, which will need two full years of rehab and an indoor pool it can swim in over the winter.
So Lui and other centre staff got in touch with the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary north of Toronto who agreed to house the animal until it could be safely returned to the wild.
"I'm so happy that she's headed there. Just because I know they can give her the best care possible," said Karissa Mitchell, an animal care attendant at the centre.
Airline offers to help
Because the not-for-profit facility couldn't afford to ship the animal, West Jet has agreed to foot the bill for the 2,200-km journey.
"After the two years of rehabilitation, she would be old enough to be on her own, so the expectation is she should be able to start her own family or find a new place to be herself again," said Lui.
But Friday won't be the last time centre staff see the kit.
She will return to Manitoba after her rehabilitation is finished, and staff will co-ordinate with Manitoba Conservation to find an appropriate place to release her.
Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre is currently accepting donations to help recoup the cost of the animal's care and for the other hundreds of orphans that have been dropped off at their centre this spring.