Animal Releases

White-Tailed Deer Release

Each year, Wild at Heart admits a few baby ungulates (moose and white-tailed deer). Sometimes these babies are orphaned, and sometimes we suspect they were prematurely brought to our Centre from well-meaning members of the public. White-tailed deer fawns in particular are brought to our Centre too early because the baby is usually sitting in a field, with no mom in sight. This is not because the mom has abandoned her baby; she is actually protecting it. Deer are born without a scent, so the less time mom spends with her baby, the safer it is from predators. If you see a baby fawn sitting alone in a healthy position (legs tucked up against body, bright eyes, wet nose), you can leave them alone. Mom is out getting food for herself, and only comes by the baby a few times a day to nurse. She will not return to her baby if she feels there is a threat, like you hovering around the baby.

If you are ever concerned about a suspected orphaned wild animal, please call our Centre, and we would be happy to speak with you: 705-692-4478

Fawn Release - Wild at Heart

Raccoon Release - Wild at Heart

Each year, Wild at Heart admits many, many orphaned, and suspected orphaned, raccoons. Sometimes babies are true orphans, but often babies are removed too hastily and brought to our Centre. Babies can become separated from their mothers through incorrect live trapping by members of the public or animal removal companies, prematurely “rescued” and brought to our Centre without giving the mother adequate time to come back, and forced removal by people. Raccoons families will only stay in a location if they are safe and warm, so if you make them feel unsafe in their current location for a few days, they will move on their own. It is much better for a wild animal to be raised by its natural mother than at our Centre, despite our very best efforts.

If reuniting the babies with their mother isn’t possible, the orphans stay at our Centre and are put into quarantine to prevent the spread of diseases. As they grow, they move to larger cages where they can explore, climb, and socialize, as well as eat natural foods. Before they are released, they are moved to outside cages, where there is less contact with people and they get used to the weather. In this video, you can see the raccoons exploring their new homes at the release site, with some kibble laid out as part of our soft release approach.

Raccoon Release - Wild at Heart

Groundhog Release

This groundhog was admitted to our Centre in the summer of 2016 with a head injury. It was confined to a small cage with padding so it couldn’t hurt itself when its coordination was compromised. Our trained staff monitored it closely as it recovered to make sure it wasn’t showing any signs of pain, and that its weight was healthy for its age. It was great to see this little one run straight off when it was released!

Groundhog Release - Wild at Heart

Duckling Release

In the summer of 2017, Wild at Heart helped two adult ducks recover from wing injuries. Near the end of the summer, the ducks were released to a nearby marsh area.

Wild at Heart - Duck Release

Merlin Release

These two merlins had been raised as orphans at Wild at Heart during the summer of 2015. After developing hunting skills at the Centre, they were released within 15km of where they were found.

Red Throated Loon Release

This loon was rehabilitated through the dedication of staff and volunteers at the Wild at Heart Wildlife Refuge Centre Centre. While this loon was released on the Spanish River, it is not a loon that is familiar to us in Northern Ontario. It is the smallest of the loons, and is usually just passing through in the spring on their migration to the Arctic where they breed. They only develop their red throat during breeding season. Their biggest threat is human-made – oil spills.

Credit to Beth Mairs, of BAM North Productions, for the creation of this video and to Lisa Patterson (Roam), musician, for the beautiful music.

Blanding's Turtle Release

This endangered Blanding’s turtle was released after over a year of recovery at Wild at Heart. It initially came in with injuries to its carapace (back) after being hit by a car on the side of the road. After pinning the shell together and cleaning the crack to prevent infections, the turtle was able to be released.

Painted Turtle Release

This painted turtle come in during the summer of 2015 after being hit by a car on the side of the road. Wild at Heart is seeing an increase in the number of turtles brought in that are hit on the side of the road, particularly painted turtles, Blanding’s, and snapping turtles. After his shell was initially treated with an iodine scrub, his shell began to heal and grow back together.

Snapping Turtle Release

This snapping turtle came to Wild at Heart during the summer of 2015 with injuries to its carapace (back shell) after being hit on the highway. Throughout the fall and winter, its shell slowly recovered. It was also moved to a larger cage to discourage escaping, as this snapper loved to move around and make a mess! After seeing this turtle recover for over a year, it was great to release it back in the wild where it belongs.