A Manitoba wildlife rehabilitation centre has a new staff member.
The Wildlife Haven Rehabiltation Centre was gifted a Lytbot disinfection and electrostatic portable sprayer, according to a news release issued on Friday.
The Lytbot is a white, rectangular-shaped robot with a head that rotates 360 degrees emitting UV light, and it's able to disinfect surfaces carrying dangerous pathogens, including the novel coronavirus, parvo and distemper.
That's big news for the rehabilitation centre which is currently temporarily housing around 175 sick or injured animals.
"We're proud to be the first animal setting [in Canada] to to be using this machine to make sure that that our species are safe as well," said Zoe Nakata, the executive director of the centre, which is located just outside of Winnipeg in Ile-des-Chenes.
The Lytbot was donated by Solaris, a company that manufactures service robots, and is valued at $115,000.
The co-founder happens to be from Winnipeg and is connected to a rehabilitation centre board member, which is what kicked off the donation, she says.
Because the centre deals with wildlife that could be exposed to risky pathogens, it's important to sanitize very thoroughly, especially during the pandemic, Nakata says.
"Wildlife rehab has kind of this unique risk that when you release an animal back into nature, you wouldn't want it to be spreading something once it's back into your flock or pack and therefore spreading it even even further," Nakata said.
"This machine is going to be able to help us keep things even more secure and prevent an outbreak and clean surfaces, even exceeding regular standards."
The Lytbot is also part of a larger plan of the rehabilitation centre to start a social enterprise centred around disinfecting surfaces, which would ideally support the non-profit, she says.
"We're looking into the option of having a sanitization service that we can offer to the community and whether that's a [personal care home], or private businesses or schools, we're still kind of exploring that opportunity," Nakata said.
"Especially given the climate today where we're in a global pandemic and sanitization is obviously front of mind for a lot of people."