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Union Gas Partnership – Moose Pen Construction

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Wild At Heart Wildlife Refuge Centre (WAH) is the only facility of its kind in Northern Ontario. Over 900 animals are treated annually, and the number of animals in need of help are continually increasing. These include songbirds, raptors, small and large mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. WAH promotes wildlife conservation by providing veterinary care and rehabilitation to injured, sick or orphaned wildlife in Northern Ontario with the goal of releasing rehabilitated animals back into the wild. WAH has four committees that work to accomplish different parts of our mission, take part in specialized projects, and help our organization continue our success. Our committees are: animal care, education, construction, and fundraising.


There are over 10 outbuildings which have been built, primarily by volunteers, to enable treatment programs for small and large mammals, as well as avian species. We have recently built a moose enclosure with professional chain link fence, a loafing pen, and running water in a small creek. Over the summer of 2016, this moose pen was leveled and cleared of brush to help prevent the risk of injury to any calves in our care. Metal doors were added to the front of the pen to provide a safe area for the calves to rest overnight. To ensure the pen overall is predator-proof, 1000 liner feet of hardware cloth skirting (see photos below) will be installed, made possible because of a generous $1000.00 donation from Union Gas. This donation, along with a volunteer team working to make repairs on the pen and pen shelter, will allow WAH to safely house any orphaned moose calves brought in the spring of 2017 (anticipated completion date).
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Archive – Spring 2016 Message

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Wild At Heart – Our Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre

Spring 2016 message from the President, Dr. Rod Jouppi

Figure 2aIt may seem like winter right now but slowly and surely, things are changing in our forests and lakes. Starting in April, Wild At Heart gets very busy with our annual spring rush of orphaned animals, injured animals and sick animals. In order to get ready, we are very busy right now repairing cages, painting and cleaning/organizing so we can be efficient during our busy time for animal care. We really rely on our interns and volunteers year round!

In late winter, nature ensures survival of species through reproduction and the arrival of babies – bears start to wake up, turtles wait for ice to be thawed on lakes, and birds start to return from the south. In northern Ontario, we are so fortunate to be in the midst of this awakening scene – we are surrounded by wildlife. It is a fantastic experience to be a witness to animal sightings and to be able to do small things for our environment to ensure healthy surroundings and healthy wildlife.

One of the issues that we have found every spring is that people are sometimes too kind. People see a babyanimal in their back yard and immediately think they need to get involved, often “kidnapping” a baby animal. Young animals are not unlike young kids. They do some strange things, like go into a stranger’s yard. The mother is usually nearby watching at a distance. The best thing to do is to ensure your pet is indoors and leave the animal alone unless you are sure it is injured. Snowshoe hares are independent after 3 weeks of age and mothers often have 2 or 3 litters every summer. Mothers usually only come by in the morning and evening to feed them so often, they may look abandoned but they are not. Please call if you find a hare on its on before bringing it in. Fledgling birds often leave their nest a day or so early. Please leave them be and they will be flying before you know it.

Recently, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recommended that New Englanders stay 150 feet away from lone baby seals. Gray seals deliver pups around this time along the New England coast, and mothers may leave pups temporarily in search of food. Crying pups are not in distress, just missing mom, say NOAA experts. We don’t have baby seals here but we do have a host of other wild babies who may give you the impression they need help but really don’t.

Sometimes we will find a litter of raccoons in our garage. Please do not interfere until the babies are 7 or 8 weeks old and then create noise, lights and they will leave with mother. Then repair the area so you don’t have a repeat issue next spring. If we interfere too early, the chance of these babies being successfully released from a captive situation is much poorer than if they are brought up naturally.

Wild At Heart does a terrific job caring for young animals but we are no match for mother. Sometimes, animals are truly orphans and we do need to get involved. If you suspect this, call Wild At Heart at 705-692-4478 and we will discuss it with you if you need to get involved, and how to get involved. Remember, orphans have very special needs with respect to diet and care. Feeding them the wrong thing, even once can be fatal!

Last year, Wild At Heart cared for over 900 wild animals, all with the extraordinary help of generous donors and volunteers. We cannot care for unlimited numbers of wild animals. If people get involved too soon, these numbers will become so large that we will be forced to stop admissions and young animals may need to be humanely euthanized. Wildlife Centres can only do so much – we all have finite caging, food and help. If we are not able to provide proper care, we have to make tough decisions. Last year, almost all Centres had to stop taking in raccoons. This year, if we can all do our bit, hopefully we won’t have any animals at our Centre that were kidnapped.

TSC BBQ Fundraiser – Sept. 24

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TSC stores across Canada are celebrating their 50th anniversary by hosting a fundraising event for a local charity, and the Sudbury location has chosen Wild At Heart! Join us Saturday, September 24th, 2016 from 11am-5pm for a BBQ at 1933 Regent Street. Wild At Heart volunteers and interns will be at the event all day, so feel free to come by and talk to us about the animals in our care, and how to get involved in our construction, animal care, education, and fundraising committees!

TSC poster

Snapping Turtle Eggs Hatching!

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On July 27, 2016 a nest of snapping turtle eggs was brought to Wild At Heart to be incubated. These turtles were found while a sandpit was being dug up by a construction team. The eggs have been incubating since July, and on August 24th, 2016, some of the eggs began to hatch! This is a huge success, as painted turtles are susceptible to population declines from threats like habitat destruction and pollution. They have a long-lived life history, so each new member of the population that can be re-introduced back to the wild is critical. Snapping turtles are a Species of Special Concern.

You can learn more about painted turtles, as well as painted and Blanding’s turtles, in Wild At Heart’s article for National Wildlife Week 2016.


Upcoming 2017 Calendar Sales

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Wild At Heart has had another very busy and successful summer of rehabilitating injured, sick, and orphaned wildlife. Our dedicated volunteers and interns have helped hundreds of animals, including small rodents, songbirds, large mammals, waterfowl, and everything in between! Newborn songbirds and rodents require special care, including feedings every 45-60 minutes for over 15 hours a day, stimulating, and special diets that change as the animal grows. While we are still taking in newborn wildlife, we are moving many of the animals to their outside cages where they will have less human contact, can play, and can practice hunting and climbing in a more natural setting. Many of these animals will be released in the coming weeks so they have enough time to find suitable habitat and food sources before the winter months arrive.

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All of this work would not be possible without the dedication from volunteers and interns who help with daily animal care and fundraising. As a charitable non-profit, volunteer-based organization that promotes wildlife conservation, Wild At Heart relies heavily on community support. With this support, we are able to provide quality veterinary care and rehabilitation to injured, sick, or orphaned wildlife in Northern Ontario, with the goal of releasing rehabilitated animals back into the wild.


One of our main fundraisers is our annual calendar sale. These calendars feature photographs taken by our volunteers and interns, as well as educational write-ups about the animal in the picture. This year, we are asking volunteers to commit to selling 5 calendars each within their personal or work networks. These colourful and informative calendars make great gifts for the holidays, and will brighten up any office space or home area. Please contact our Education Coordinator, Monica at with your pledge to sell 5 calendars, raising monies to help us help them.

Community Partnerships Essential to WAH – earthdancers

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Wild At Heart is focused on providing wildlife with quality care and veterinary service to ensure they have the best chance at being released back into the wild. Animals may come in because they are injured, sick, or orphaned, and our dedicated volunteers work around the clock every day to help these animals recover and grow. Community partnerships are essential for Wild At Heart, as we are a non-for-profit that receives no funding. Throughout the year, we have high operation costs, including a mortgage, diet preparation, medication, and utilities. Monetary donations and volunteers giving their time have allowed Wild At Heart to be so successful.

The earthdancers have supported Wild At Heart for several years by donating some of their performance proceeds. The earthdancers is a non-profit contemporary dance organization run by students. For over 25 years, earthdancers has promoted environmental awareness and has raised funds to give to environmental causes through benefit performances held yearly.

The trials and tribulations of a wildlife centre

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To care for wild animals in Ontario requires quite stringent rules and policies that must be satisfied by the MNR prior to getting certification. Once a wildlife centre opens, there is a serious responsibility to ensure we do the right thing for the animals we care for. This includes providing the appropriate diets for all species, having trained people who are able to provide professional care and having proper facilities in terms of materials, space, ventilation, temperature, etc.

Looking after wildlife is not easy nor is it inexpensive and to top it all off, there is no funding.

Wild At Heart is able to provide the excellent services it does only because we do sometimes receive donations and we have passionate people who care about animals who are willing to donate their time. Having the right menu ingredients for different species is expensive (the food we require for one summer is thousands of dollars). We have various buildings that were often constructed with donated materials and built by volunteers… we pay taxes, utilities just like everyone else.

I have been a veterinarian for over 38 years and I have treated wildlife for 37 of those years. I am a volunteer and have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars helping wildlife. Why would I and so many other volunteers do this? Because we care about animals and we care about the environment. Animals are a critical part of ecosystems and healthy ecosystems are a critical necessity to the health of the world and the people in it. Besides, as part of a moral society, we owe a service to the animals we have often hurt or injured because of roads, construction, farms and global warming. Animals are sentient beings. They have feelings and are capable of feeling pain and suffering. We need to do what we can to help.

I have seen a lot of great comments and Thank You’s on our Facebook and when we give presentations to schools and others. But I have also seen a couple of negative comments having to do with an animal dying in our care or that we are full and cannot take more young raccoons or birds and that we sometimes have to humanely euthanize animals.

As far as I know there is not a wildlife centre,, veterinary hospital or human hospital that does not experience death. In the case of wild animals, we often do not have the diagnostics that other hospitals have in order to get blood results, x rays, ECG, MRI, etc. Wildlife centres cannot afford this equipment. Although with experience, we can get pretty good with picking up on medical issues and proper treatments. I have taken the time to get educated in various areas that are important to wildlife: courses for turtles, raptors and specialized techniques. Treating wild animals is not just like treating domestic animals and requires special efforts and training even after veterinary school. The other thing that often happens is that people can bring animals to us when they are sick or have been fed the wrong foods although they may not look sick at that moment. Baby wild animals can pass away very quickly often with very little in the way of symptoms. We cannot be successful in all cases. Just as the person who takes the time to bring in an animal, the people who volunteer are also very upset when we cannot save every animal. All we can do is give it our best effort , which often is enough.

Death is a common occurrence when you deal with injured, orphaned and sick wild animals but it is never easy for the people who devote countless hours in efforts to save every animal they can. Baby animals need to be fed, cleaned and stimulated to urinate and defecate every 2 – 4 hours. Now multiply this by 150 animals needing care at one time and you get an idea of the amount of time caretakers spend with every animal at Wild At Heart.

As a wildlife centre, we cannot save every animal and we cannot take in every animal that needs to be cared for.  As I mentioned, we have to supply appropriate housing and care for every animal we admit. For example, we have 46 raccoons and when they are 12 weeks of age, we will need over 1500 sq. ft. in outdoor housing. We have a bit less than that available for raccoons. We cannot take in any more raccoons otherwise we would be contravening the MNR requirements and we would not be able to provide what the raccoons need for a successful release. Just like every other wildlife centre that I know of in Ontario, we are all full and cannot take any more raccoons – we are also full now with respect to baby songbirds for the same reasons. We must now make the difficult decision of humanely euthanizing some animals at this time of year. This is not an easy decision but the other choice would be to let them die a slow death in the wild. Sometimes, there is no easy way to tell a person who shows up with an animal that we are not able to care for it. Often the person at the door also feels very bad about telling this to a person and may not do it as well as an experienced person. We do not have a designated person to do this although if people phone in first, I always try and call them to alert them. After I talk to the people involved, they generally understand that we can only do our best.

I would like to conclude by letting everyone know that we always welcome volunteers who would like to help in this fantastic voyage. By getting this first hand experience, it will go a long way to develop understanding of what we do and why we do it.


Dr. Rod Jouppi


Wild At Heart

Wild At Heart Comedy Night 2016

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On June 3rd, 2016, Wild At Heart held our 7th Annual Wild About Comedy dinner at the Sixth Avenue Golf & Country Club. It was a tremendous success! We were sold out and had a new HIGH for our proceeds brought in. A sincere thank you to all guests who bought tickets, our fabulous entertainment Mark Crocker (ventriloquist extraordinaire!), the great jazz of Rosewood Songs (Craig and Marshall), and of course, all of our sponsors, volunteers and auction item donors.


Image: Entertainment from Rosewood Songs.


Freelandt Caldwell Reilly LLP, Line Villeneuve, Orion Printing, Rosewood Songs, Sixth Avenue Golf & Country Club, Southview Growers, Todd Robson, Travelway Inn, United Link Insurance Brokers Ltd. – Todd LaRoque, Karen Falldien-Yawney, ProSonic Ltd. – David Peters, TD Bank, Gordon Food Services

The Sixth Avenue Golf & Country Club was our platinum sponsor this year, pledging more than $5,000.00 off the cost of their venue.


Images: Our venue was beautiful, thanks to Sixth Avenue Golf & Country Club and all of their wonderful staff!


Dyanmic Eventz, Susan Bonneville, Rea-Ann Goegan, Mary Jouppi, Monica Jouppi, Rod Jouppi, Maxine Mayotte, Lisa McIvor, Judy Miller, Victoria Murphy, Rebecca Robinson, Marina Romenco, Emily Bell, Sam Hunter, Janet Young, Flory Bell, Emily Trottier, Maureen Kealy, Monica Seidel, Natashka Healey, Amber Hawkins


Image: President, Dr. Rod Jouppi message during Comedy Night.

Auction Item Donors:

Alex Fillion Photography, Anita Lamoureux, Anne McBain, ARC Climbing Yoga Fitness, Ashley’s Kitchen, Cheryl Lawrence, City Welding, Colette Theriault, Country Quilter, Debra Ireland, Di Gusto Restaurant, Don Johnston, Dynamic Eventz, El Mercado, Freskiw’s, Gaetanne Gladu, Glama Gals Tween Spa, Judy Miller, Karen Yawney – Dionysus Wines, Kim Creasey, Lisa McIvor, Loralie White – Forty-Creek, Notre Dame Boys, Nu-Look Paint & Wallpaper, Pat Bedard Art, Pixatron, Ramakko’s, Rea-Ann Goegan, Rona Hardware – Val Caron, Samantha Kuula, Scholar’s Choice, Sharon Kennie, Stephanie Mete, Tamara Hyland – Skincerity, Ten Point Archery, Tina Ryan, Treasury Wine Estates, Victoria Murphy, Vrab’s Independent Grocer


Images: The silent and live auctions were a huge success because of our dedicated fundraising volunteers and attendees – thank you!

We presently have well over 150 baby animals that are being cared for and requiring feeding and care every 2 or 3 hours. Soon they will be over 3 months of age and will be moved into larger outdoor enclosures with a daily menu of great foods, exercise programs, and training on how to obtain their own food items in the great outdoors. They will be released in August/September to give them a good chance to acclimatize to their new environment before fall and winter – summers go by so quickly in wildlife rehab centres!


If any people are interested, Wild At Heart always needs volunteers. Interests may include animal care, fundraising, construction/maintenance, and education. Please contact Monica, our Education Coordinator at 705 692 4478. Wild At Heart is the only wildlife rehab centre in our area and we are very grassroots focused. We do not receive any payments as an organization, and rely on our volunteers and donors.


We are now staring to work on our annual calendar and you will see us at some of Sudbury’s summer festivals and outdoor events sharing our awareness of wildlife and environmental issues. Let us know if you want to help!



Raise Ur Paw $500 Donation

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Thank you to Raise Ur Paw for their generous donation of $500 to Wild At Heart! Community partnerships are central to Wild At Heart – we are a volunteer-based organization that receives no government funding. Our mandate is to rehabilitate Northern Ontario’s wildlife, while also raising awareness about wildlife-human interaction. This monetary donation will be very useful during our busy summer season!
If you would like to become involved with Wild At Heart, please visit our website  to learn how to become a volunteer, or make a donation.


More about Raise Ur Paw:

R.U.P (RAISE UR PAW) is a cause dedicated to raising awareness against animal abuse and cruelty,  we wish to provide effective means for raising the awareness  – and work hard to help fight the good fight; standing up for animal rights and welfare.

We work hard at educating the public, research, protest campaigns – and reach our “paws” to raise not only the adoption rates in shelters, but to also fight for the animal rights to life – dedicated to stop the euthanization of healthy and treatable animals within shelters.

Leah’s 7th Birthday Gift

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Instead of asking for gifts for her 7th birthday, Leah asked for money donations for Wild At Heart. Thank you for helping the animals, who all need specialized diets and medical attention while rehabilitating at our Centre! Monies donated to the Centre go towards buying species-specific formula powders, medical supplies, cleaning supplies, pellets and seed mixes, fruits and vegetables, meat, and many more items. Donations from the community are fundamental for Wild At Heart, as we do not receive any government funding, and are a volunteer-based organization.

To donate to Wild At Heart and help us rehabilitate wildlife, please visit here or visit the Centre in person at 95 White Road in Lively.