Nova Scotia

Hope For Wildlife opens new drop-off centre in Annapolis Valley

Hope for Wildlife has opened a new drop-off centre in the Annapolis Valley. This new location will better enable the organization to respond to the thousands of calls it receives each year.

'This way they've got a far better chance of making it to us,' says Hope Swinimer

These red fox pups recently arrived at Hope For Wildlife's new location in the Annapolis Valley. (Hope Swinimer)

Hope for Wildlife has opened a new drop-off centre in the Annapolis Valley area and animal rescuers like Rhonda Fox couldn't be happier.

"It's amazing what they have down there at the new facility," said Fox, who lives in Greenwood.

She said she's been volunteering with animal groups and shelters for at least 20 years and has rescued hundreds of animals big and small, often from the side of busy highways. "From the fawns to the bald eagles to raccoons, there's been everything, just about."

She said when she's volunteered with Hope for Wildlife, a non-profit animal rehabilitation and education sanctuary centred in Seaforth, N.S., she has often spent full days transporting animals. She said the new centre will make things much easier.

Hope Swinimer, founder of the organization, said the new location, located on the Deep Hollow Road in White Rock, could be the difference between life and death for some of these animals

"Sometimes we'll be driving and they don't even make the drive," she said. "They die in transit. This way they've got a far better chance of making it to us."

The new centre is equipped with the tools needed to help stabilize distressed and injured animals before they go to Seaforth, which is about 130 kilometres away.

The new location means fewer trips to the organization's Seaforth home. (Hope Swinimer)

Once at Hope for Wildlife, the animals go through a rehabilitation program. Some are able to be released back into the wild.

The White Rock location will be open 24/7.

Hope for Wildlife estimates it rescues 4,500 wild animals a year across the province.

"Last summer, there were so many pickups sometimes we'd be going down to the Valley to pick up an injured animal twice a day," she said. "Now we just do it once a day and it's one trip for everybody."

Swinimer said the new location received six calls about dropping off wild animals within the first week of opening.

"We've gotten squirrels in, we've gotten a couple little birds and a porcupine," she said.

She said the new building was "pretty run down" at the beginning.

"Not everybody would have wanted to take on the challenge of cleaning it up but we were thrilled. The property is beautiful."

It took eight months to remodel the building. (Hope Swinimer)

The land itself was donated by Heather Schofield, who lives in the U.S. Swinimer said Schofield's brother died, leaving Heather with the decision about what to do with the property.

"It has always been her parents' dream that if neither of the kids wanted the property it would go somehow to nature," said Swinimer.

Swinimer said the building on the property took eight months to refurbish.

The main floor is where people can drop off animals and the upstairs is living quarters for Hope for Wildlife interns.

Fox said maybe this new location will encourage others to help animals in need.

"I hope that people will take a few minutes out of their day and maybe think about doing something," said Fox. "Anybody who can rescue animals has a special place in my heart, that's for sure."

Swinimer said while it took 25 years to open a second location, the organization is making constant changes and upgrades to the Seaforth location. The hope is to have drop-off locations in Yarmouth and on the South Shore in future.

"This drop-off centre is just so exciting and it's a dream we've been able to fulfil and make happen," she said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Feleshia Chandler is a journalist based in Halifax. She loves helping people tell their stories and has interests in issues surrounding LGBTQ+ people as well as Black, Indigenous and people of colour. You can reach her at feleshia.chandler@cbc.ca

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