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Press Release – Wild About Comedy Night

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April 25, 2016

Tickets now on sale for 7th Annual Wild About Comedy Night

In Support of Wild at Heart Wildlife Refuge Centre –

Sudbury – Wild at Heart Wildlife Refuge Centre presents the 7th Annual Wild About Comedy Night. The popular annual event in support of the wildlife centre will take place on Friday, June 3rd, 2016 at Sixth Avenue Golf & Country Club in Lively. The featured talent is comedic ventriloquist Mark Crocker! With over three decades of entertaining audiences around the world, Mark’s special blend of comedy delivered through ventriloquism creates a wonderful mixture of old versus new.

Attendees will enjoy a delectable three-course dinner, as well as silent and live auctions throughout the evening. Auction items include artwork, experiences, merchandise, and gift packages.

Doors open at 6:00 p.m. for cocktails and the silent auction, and dinner will begin at 7:00 p.m. with the comedy show following. Cash bar. Ages 18+

Tickets are $60 each, $450 for a table of 8.

Advance tickets are available: online at, at Wild at Heart Wildlife Refuge Centre (95 White Road, Lively), the Walden Animal Hospital (11 White Rd, Lively),  or call 705-692-4478 to charge by phone.

Wild About Comedy Night is supported by: Orion Printing.

Wild at Heart Wildlife Refuge Centre is a not-for-profit organization and a registered charity located in Lively, Ontario. For over 30 years, in association with the Walden Animal Hospital, the Centre has been providing veterinary care and treatment to orphaned, injured, or sick wild animals so that they may return to the wild. Our dedicated volunteers provide daily care for over 900 animals that we receive annually – everything from songbirds to moose. Wild at Heart Wildlife Refuge Centre is the only registered wildlife rehabilitation centre of its size in Northern Ontario (north of Parry Sound).

For more information, please call (705) 692-4478 or visit

Click here to download a promotional photo of Mark.

Media Contact:
Monica Seidel
Education Coordinator
Wild at Heart Wildlife Refuge Centre

Summer Volunteer Intern Positions Available

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Wild At Heart Wildlife Refuge Centre is now looking for interns from May – July 2016.


Wild at Heart Wildlife Refuge Centre is a licensed wildlife rehabilitation centre dedicated to the care of a wide variety of orphaned, sick, and injured wildlife. The centre admits over 750 animals per year and works closely with a team of veterinarians. Wild at Heart is located in a small northern Ontario town, Lively, 15 km west of Sudbury, with access to public transportation. We offer a friendly fast paced learning opportunity in a climate controlled work environment. Facilities include access to a kitchenette, wireless Internet, and limited free on-­site accommodations. Food costs are not included.

Internship Duration:

All intern positions are voluntary and full time. Position duration varies from a minimum of 2 months up to maximum of 6 months, 5 days per week, 40-­50 hours per week. Schedule is rotating and includes days, evenings and weekends. Preference will be given to intern applicants dedicated to internships longer than 2 months. Internships for the busy season will run anywhere between April to September.


Position Descriptions:

Animal care Internship:

The successful interns will gain valuable practical experience in wildlife rehabilitation techniques while caring for a variety of native mammals, birds, and reptiles. Duties include animal admissions, diet preparation and feeding, cage cleaning, medication administration, wound management, and other daily care needs of the wildlife patients. No experience is necessary, but commitment to the duration of the internship is required.

Animal Care Leader Internship:

Intern leaders are involved in all of the above, with more focus on management of a particular species such as squirrels, raccoons, or songbirds. Leaders would be responsible for their assigned species, including monitoring health of individuals and assisting in mentoring of other interns and volunteers. Experience in wildlife rehabilitation techniques is advisable. The minimum length of the animal care leader internship is 4 months or longer, depending on the species of interest.


* At least 18 years of age

* Commitment to the length of the internship

* Must be reliable, very dedicated, able to multi­-task, and commit to work hours according to the needs of the animals.

* Also able to perform repetitive, physically demanding tasks in a fast-paced, team-oriented environment.

* Criminal background check may be requested.


We provide on-site accommodations, but these are limited and are reserved quickly. There is a kitchen, sitting area, two washrooms as well as shared bedrooms. Please state on your application whether or not you would like to be considered for accommodations.

To Apply: Please email resume with cover letter explaining why you are interested in joining our rehabilitation team (please include start and end dates available and specify which position you are applying for) to:


Turtle Awareness Campaign – National Wildlife Week

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For National Wildlife Week, Wild At Heart has been highlighting different animals in our care each day of the week on Facebook. For the last 3 days of the week, we are going to launch a turtle awareness campaign. Typically Wild At Heart gets 3 types of turtles in: painted turtles, Blanding’s turtles, and snapping turtles. We would like to raise awareness about these types of turtles, specifically: their natural history and identifiable traits, why Wild At Heart is seeing an increase in turtles brought in that have been hit by cars, and what you can do on an individual and community level to help turtles. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday (April 14th, 15th, 16th), more information will be added to this article highlighting a different topic surrounding turtles and their fight for survival in a growing urbanized environment.

Information written by senior animal care intern Nele van Daele and Wild At Heart staff member Monica Seidel. Photographs by interns Nele van Daele and Sarah Townson.

Figure 1: Total Number of Turtle Road Victims Brought to Wild At Heart from 2008 to 2015 (data taken from Wild At Heart animal care records).

Turtles are long-living species with a late sexual maturity which makes it very difficult to recover from increased adult death. In addition to this, they do not have the coping mechanism to produce more eggs as a response to higher mortality rates. So every adult turtle that dies on the road significantly contributes to the decline of the species in the area (Beaudry, deMaynadier, & Hunter Jr., 2008; DeCatanzaro & Chow-Fraser, 2010; Millar & Blouin-Demers, 2012).

Increased road construction and the turtle’s need to cross roads on their search for a nest often ends in severe injuries. By rehabilitating these road victims, Wild At Heart contributes to the recovery and conservation of these species. By raising awareness to this problem we hope that everyone will contribute to the conservation of these species.

The difference between Blanding’s, snapping and painted turtles

Blanding’s turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) are listed as endangered in Nova Scotia and threatened in Ontario and Quebec. Endangered species are wildlife species who are facing imminent extirpation (extinct only in a certain area) or extinction (gone from the entire planet) (COSEWIC, COSEWIC Assessment Process, Categories and Guidelines, 2015). Wildlife species that are likely to become endangered, if nothing is done to reverse the factors leading to its extirpation or extinction, are considered threatened (COSEWIC, COSEWIC Assessment Process, Categories and Guidelines, 2015).

Blanding’s turtles can be easily recognized by their yellow throat and chin (Figure 2). Their domed shell or carapace is black to brown with yellow spots and lines, and the bottom shell or plastron (Figure 2) is yellow with black spots. They are about 15 to 27cm in length, weigh between 1 and 1.5 kilogram and they become 75 years or even more (COSEWIC, 2005; MNR, 2011; CWF, 2014; MNR, 2014; Government Of Ontario, 2016).

 Figure 2a  Figure 2b
 Figure 2c
Figure 2: Photos of a Blanding’s turtle recovering at Wild at Heart (2016). Facial features (left), plastron (top right), and carapace (bottom right).

Blanding’s turtles mature between the ages of 15-25. Females lay eggs every 2 to 3 years and the clutch can consist of 3 to 19 eggs. They hibernate from October to April at the bottom of wetlands (MNR, 2011; CWF, Blanding’s turtle: species information, 2014; MNR, 2014).

Snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina) are the largest freshwater turtles in Canada. Their carapace is black, olive, or brown colored. They spend most of their time underwater, laying on the bottom of a water body or buried in the mud. Therefore they are typically covered in algae (Figure 3). The tails of snapping turtles are quite long and have triangular crests. Their size can variate between 30 to 50 centimeters, with the females are slightly smaller than the males.

The plastron is grey or yellow and is quite small compared to other turtles. Because of their small plastron they cannot completely pull in their limbs, neck, or tail. Therefore they are more likely to bite when they feel threatened. Their neck is quite long and they have strong jaws (Figure 4), so always be very cautious when handling snapping turtles (Ernst & Lovich, 2009; MNR, 2014; CWF, 2016; Government Of Ontario, 2016). Information on how to handle turtles will follow later on in this document.

Snapping turtles are currently listed as a species of special concern. Species of special concern are wildlife species that may become threatened or endangered because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats (COSEWIC, COSEWIC Assessment Process, Categories and Guidelines, 2015; Government Of Ontario, 2016). Snapping turtles reach sexual maturity between the ages of 15-20 (MNR, 2014; CWF, 2016).

 Figure 3  Figure 4
Figure 3: Snapping turtle recovering at WAH (2016). Algae can be seen at the back and along the edges of the carapace. Pink marks on carapace are from a road injury. Figure 4: Facial features of a snapping turtle recovering at WAH (2016). Snapping turtles have a powerful bite because of their strong jaw muscles.

Painted turtles (Chrysemys picta) are the turtles that can often be seen basking on logs. Their carapace (Figure 5) is olive to black colored with red to dark orange markings on the sides. The plastron is yellow with large dark irregular shapes along the midline. They have red stripes on their legs and yellow stripes on their head and neck (Figure 6). The size of painted turtles varies between 9 and 18 centimeters.

They reach sexual maturity around 5 years of age. The clutch contains from 3 to 14 eggs. Females nest from late May to early July (Ontario Nature, 2016; KTTC, 2016; Toronto Zoo, 2016).


 Figure 5  Figure 6
Figure 5: Cracked carapace of a painted turtle recovering at WAH (2016). Figure 6: Painted turtle recovering at WAH (2016).


All of these turtles are primarily threatened by road mortality and habitat loss. They nest in gravelly areas making roadsides an ideal location to nest, but also putting them at risk of injury from car collisions. In order to find suitable nesting site, female turtles also need to cross roads, further putting them at risk. Female Blanding’s turtles often travel up to 2.5 kilometers to find a nesting site, while snapping turtles can travel up to 10 kilometers (Beaudry, deMaynadier, & Hunter Jr., 2008; DeCatanzaro & Chow-Fraser, 2010; Millar & Blouin-Demers, 2012).

How do turtles hibernate?

Hibernation is a mechanism to cope through adverse winters in cold climates. Turtles go into an induced sleep during the winter months, and re-emerge in the spring when ideal growth and feeding conditions return. In November and December, turtles become “…very resistant to the penetration of ice into body compartments from surrounding soil, and the turtles also purge their bodies of catalysts for the formation of ice” (Packard & Packard, 2003). These changes allow them to survive in colder temperatures because water cannot organize into the crystalline phase to freeze.

All turtles must have sufficient stores to survive a long hibernation period, but also have energy when they awake from hibernation to find food and fend off predators. This fitness usually is linked to body mass in the spring (Muir, et al., 2013). The typical cold temperature at the bottom of water bodies (as seen in Northern Ontario for example) allow for the turtles to use up the stores slowly.

Therefore, turtles have to thrive through many adverse conditions to make it through the winter. This includes: cold temperatures, anoxic soil conditions, moisture content in the soil, possible freezing of the skin and skeletal musculature (but not body core), excess lactic acid build-up, and awakening from the hibernation and readily finding food while also avoiding predation. This abundance of factors is another reason that rehabilitation is so critical at Wild At Heart, because the success rate of each clutch of eggs each year is so low through hibernation.

Painted and Blanding’s turtles use finite energy reserves, not an antifreeze, to survive hibernation through their first winter. They hatch in the late summer months, but do not emerge from the nest until after their first winter is over (Packard & Packard, 2003; Storey, 2006) (see Figure 8). They survive because of the remains of a large internalized yolk sac (Storey, 2006). This strategy is beneficial because the new hatchlings avoid predation and harsh temperature conditions, and also can rapidly grow when ideal conditions return in the spring/summer. Egg size variation is dependent on both fall and spring temperatures because the turtles do not emerge from the nest until the spring (Rollison, et al., 2012).

One study found that hatchling painted turtles used an average of 0.39 kJ/g when put in a simulated 4°C wintering environment (Muir, et. al, 2013). A decrease in carapace length (0.2mm) and liver size (up to 66%) was observed in turtles hibernating in warm-winter conditions (15°C), as well as a loss in body mass of 16% (compared to 5.3% for the 4°C group) (Muir, et al., 2013). Painted turtles have skin that seems to resist the transmission of ice into their bodies, meaning they can survive sub-zero temperatures much better than Blanding’s or snapping turtles (Packard, G. C., et al., 1993). Another study found that Blanding’s turtle hatchlings survived 3 days at -3.5°C, giving them a “good” freezing tolerance (Storey, 2006). The same study found snapping turtles had a “poor” freezing tolerance, with just a 60% survival at -2.5°C after 3 days.

Snapping turtles usually emerge from nests in late summer to early autumn (Figure 8). They then move on the land to a suitable permanent water body to hibernate. The majority of turtles that do not leave the nest before winter comes die because they come into contact with the ice in the soil and there is irreversible damage to the cells. Some snapping turtles can survive a moderate stress associated with some of their bodily fluids freezing, however, all of the bodily fluids cannot freeze, and the fluids that do freeze cannot freeze for too long (Packard, et al., 1993). Fall temperatures play a factor on egg size variation for snapping turtles because that is when follicular development occurs (Rollison, et al., 2012).

Figure 8

Figure 8: Estimated timing of the follicular cycle of the snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina), wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta), and painted turtle (Chrysemys picta). Dashed arrows and light-framed boxes refer to the direct effect of temperature on follicular development (Source: Rollison, et al., 2012).



Ashley, E., & Robinson, J. (1996). Road mortality of amphibians, reptiles and other wildlife on the Long Point causeway, Lake Erie, Ontario. Canadian Field-Naturalist, 403-412.

Beaudry, f., deMaynadier, P., & Hunter Jr., M. (2008). Identifying road mortality threat at multiple spatial scales for semi-aquatic turtles. Biological Conservation, 2550-2563.

COSEWIC. (2005). Assessment and update status report on the Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) in Canada. Ontario, Canada: COSEWIC.

COSEWIC. (2015). COSEWIC Assessment Process, Categories and Guidelines. COSEWIC.

CWF. (2014). Blanding’s turtle: species information. Kanata, Ontario, Canada: Canadian Wildlife Foundation.

CWF. (2016). Snapping turtle: species information. Kanata, Ontario, Canada: Canadian Wildlife Foundation.

DeCatanzaro, R., & Chow-Fraser, P. (2010). Relationship of road density and marsh condition to turtle assemblage characteristics in the Laurentian Great Lakes. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 357-365.

Ernst, C., & Lovich, J. (2009). Snapping Turtles. In C. Ernst, & J. Lovich, Turtles of the United States and Canada (pp. 113-137). Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

FDA. (2014). Pet Turtles: Cute But Contaminated with Salmonella. U.S.: FDA Consumer Health Information.

Government Of Ontario. (2016). Species at risk in Ontario List. Opgehaald van Government of Ontario:

KTTC. (2016). Painted turtle. Opgehaald van Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre:

Millar, C. S., & Blouin-Demers, G. (2012). Habitat suitability modelling for species at risk is sensitive to algorithmand scale: a case study of Blanding’s turtle, Emydoidea blandingii, in Ontario, Canada. Journal for Nature Conservation, 18-29.

MNR. (2011). Ontario Species at Risk: Quick Reference Guide. Peterborough, Ontario, Canada: Ministry of natural resources.

MNR. (2014). Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii). Ontario: Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

MNR. (2014). Ontario Species at Risk Handling Manual: For Endangered Species Act Authorization Holders. Ontario, Canada: Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

MNR. (2014). Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina). Ontario, Canada: Ministry of Natural Resources.

Ontario Nature. (2016). Painted turtle. Accessed from Ontario Nature:

Toronto Zoo. (2016). Species guides: turtles. Accessed from Toronto Zoo:


TICKETS ON SALE – Wild About Comedy Night June 3rd, 2016

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Wild At Heart’s 7th Annual Comedy Night will be held Friday June 3rd at Sixth Avenue Golf Course, 320 Sixth Avenue, Lively.

Tickets are $60 each, $450 for table of 8. Tickets are available here.

Doors at 6pm, dinner at 7pm. Ages 18+.

Included with the purchase of one (1) ticket: cocktail hour hors d’oeuvres, 3 course sit-down dinner, comedy performance from Master Ventriloquist Mark Crocker, musical entertainment, and silent and live auctions.

Dress code/attire is “smart casual”.

No refunds or exchanges once a ticket is purchased.

Physical tickets will be mailed until Friday, May 27th, 2016. After that date, they will be held for pick-up at the door. Should you wish to pick-up the tickets in-person from the Centre, please email

Proceeds support Wild At Heart Wildlife Refuge Centre, a non-profit organization and registered charity.

SAVE THE DATE – 7th Annual Wild About Comedy Night

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Save the Date! Wild At Heart’s Annual Comedy Night will be held Friday June 3rd at Sixth Avenue Golf Course. Tickets are $60 each, $450 for table of 8.

Cocktail hour hors d’oeuvres, three course sit-down dinner, comedy performance from Master Ventriloquist Mark Crocker, and silent and live auctions will all be a part of the night!


Mark Crocker provides a show that is not only hilarious, but extremely professional. A performance of sight and sound that will be remembered long after the event is over. Performances are interactive, personalized and extremely funny! Mark was introduced to the ancient and complex art of ventriloquism in 1977. From simple beginnings performing on the front porch, to local cub scouts and churches, Mark steadily progressed to every style of venue. Eventually he leaped from the “real job” to full time entertaining in 2000. With over three decades of entertaining audiences around the world, thousands of conferences, conventions and special events, Mark’s special blend of comedy delivered through ventriloquism creates a wonderful mixture of old versus new.


Tickets will be on sale at the Centre and on-line on Wild At Heart’s website. Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks!

V.I.P. Information Night – A Huge Success!

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 Wild At Heart V.I.P. Information Night – March 2, 2016


A big thank you to everyone who came out to our V.I.P. information night last night! It was a great night of conversation and information as founder Dr. Rod Jouppi talked about Wild At Heart’s future goals and our strong focus on education. There is a distinct focus on public education when dealing with wildlife in order to reduce human-wildlife conflict. This is particularly important when leading up to our busy season. Please call the Centre (705-692-4478) before bringing in an animal so our staff can help determine the proper course of action before human intervention has happened.


Educational Display highlighting Wild At Heart’s mandate of rehabilitating injured, sick, and orphaned animals,
as well as information about our four committees – construction, education, fundraising, and animal care.
Also on display were typical beaver, raccoon, and squirrel and chipmunk diets depending on their age.


The evening in full swing – refreshments and food courtesy of Sixth Avenue Golf and Country Club.
Thank you to Chef Andrew for his time and delicious treats!

Thank you to all of the volunteers and interns for helping with set-up, and for being advocates for our volunteer program throughout the night. They were great at taking questions about volunteering, the animals in our care, and sharing about their time here. Wild At Heart would also like to thank Sixth Avenue Golf and Country Club for donating their time and resources to making this event a success.

Our gift shop was open with beautiful hand-crafted items, and tickets also went on sale for our Annual Wild About Comedy night Friday June 3, 2016. These items will be available for purchase in the coming weeks on our website. The photo below is a sneak peek!


Gift shop items – to be on sale online soon!

The event was also covered by the Sudbury Star in a story featured on their homepage today (March 3, 2016). The article highlights many projects we are excited for in 2016, including wheelchair accessible ramps to our newly renovated education centre, live-time cameras, one-way glass, and have an on-site surgical suite and radiology and intensive care area, among others. Many changes have already occurred at the Centre, including cage renovations, the beginnings of our intensive care area, and general organization and painting. Thank you to all of our construction volunteers who have been hard at work to help ready our Centre for our busy season coming up!

We were also featured in the Northern Life (March 3, 2016).

If you would like more information about volunteering with any of our four committees (construction, education, fundraising, and animal care), simply fill in an application form on our website and we will be in contact with you shortly!

Letter from the President

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Dear Animal Lover :

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” –Anatole France

During my career as a veterinarian, I have had the pleasure of caring for wildlife for over 35 years. Wild at Heart has been a very active registered Canadian charity for over eight years. In that time, we have built a facility that has been able to professionally care for hundreds of wild animals this past year alone.

We have attended at many events over the year that has allowed us to educate people on the importance of the environment and the wild animals that inhabit it.

Did you know that we receive absolutely no funding from anywhere other than the kind and thoughtful contributions of people and corporations like you?

Donations and volunteers are essential to our program. We are able to provide excellent care for many animals because of our grass roots organization.

Did you know that we are the only wildlife rehabilitation centre in North Eastern Ontario?

In order to provide professional care for wild animals we require expensive food, housing and medications. Ella, our young moose calf has required 2 surgeries in the past several weeks at the Ontario Veterinary College because of a badly broken leg. She is still not out of the woods although the healing is headed in the right direction. She has gained weight and still has a large second cast on her leg as well as external pins. She needs almost constant care. Ella will hopefully be released this spring as a healthy young moose. Ella’s care since June has cost over $4,000.00.

Wild at Heart also provides care for species at risk in Ontario such as Blanding turtles … they are often admitted with severe injuries because of trauma on our highways that are built in their habitat …. They need surgery and care for months before they can be released. Humans cause most of these problems either directly or indirectly. It is up to humans to recognize that we have a moral responsibility to help wild animals in need.

Over this coming winter, we will be caring for over fifty wild mammals and birds since they cannot be released in mid winter and we are already gearing up for the hundreds of orphan and injured wild animals that we will admit this spring. If you can help us, we would greatly appreciate it. We welcome all donations and if you would like to volunteer, we would also welcome your time. Donations can also be made through PayPal by visiting our website at Any donations over $20.00 will receive a tax-deductible receipt. Thank you!


Rod Jouppi.


Uh-Oh! Winter is Coming!

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Winter is just around the corner! Wild at Heart needs your support to help our critters stay warm and healthy over the winter months. As most of you know, heating costs rise during this time and with an 8,000 sq ft. building, these costs often get very expensive.

We do over-winter animals in order to make sure they are ready to be reintroduced into the wild during the spring/summer. We have a lot of turtles that eat a lot of earthworms! Nuts, almonds and the sort are always needed for our over-wintered birds and some mammals.

To help us, please click the donate button! Your support is needed and greatly appreciated!

Chelmsford Public School grade 5/6 class raised funds and donations for Wild At Heart!

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We are very happy to announce that Matthew Carroll’s Grade 5/6 class at Chelmsford Public School fundraised $775 for Wild At Heart, and collected many boxes of donated items!

That was a huge accomplishment completed in less than a month, and we are very thankful!

The animals are going to benefit greatly from the hard work put in by these students!

Thank you!