Langley’s refuge for injured and abandoned wild animals is expecting quite a few new otter residents this year – and it’s looking for the public’s help in feeding and housing them.
For International Wild Otter Day, on May 26, Critter Care Wildlife Society has been selling a special sponsorship certificate along with an otter-plush key chain for $60.
The money goes towards the care and upkeep of the river otters who are being raised or recovering at the society’s centre, located in Campbell Valley Regional Park.
Right now, there are four otters at the centre, said Brandon Dean, the centre’s manager of operations and marketing.
“Last year, we had about 13,” he said.
Typically, the otters don’t start showing up until June, so the society is bracing for another year with a lot of otters in need of care.
It isn’t a simple matter to rehabilitate an otter for a return to the wild, which is the society’s goal for injured and orphaned wildlife.
They need a special diet of fish, plus vitamins, along with a highly specialized milk formula for the pups.
“It is costly, just like all the other animals,” Dean said.
Then there’s the cost of caring for semi-aquatic animals that require a pool.
“We get multiple truckloads of water brought into us,” said Dean.
There are pools at Critter Care for the otters, beavers, and for the black bears, but because the centre is on a well in rural South Langley, they can’t simply turn on a tap to keep the pools full. It would drain their well dry in short order, so water has to be hauled in.
In addition to the cost of maintaining the pool, the structure is aging – it really needs to be replaced, Dean said.
That could run more than $100,000, he noted, and that’s a big bill for a non-profit that gets almost all its funding through donations, with no ongoing government support.
The society hosts a permanent otter resident, a senior female otter taken in last year after she was found emaciated in North Vancouver. Dame Judy Dentures got her name after she required extensive dental surgery, including three root canals. Now pain free, she’s going to live out her days at Critter Care, where she surprisingly gave birth to three pups after her recovery.
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