P.E.I. wildlife rehabilitation facility in dire need of expansion

·3 min read
'I'm hoping to have a very nice building that is winter- and summer-friendly,' Candy Gallant says. (Laura Meader/CBC - image credit)
'I'm hoping to have a very nice building that is winter- and summer-friendly,' Candy Gallant says. (Laura Meader/CBC - image credit)

Candy Gallant of Southwest Lot 16, P.E.I., is raising funds for a new wildlife facility to help manage the influx of animals on her property.

Gallant has a legal permit to rehabilitate and release wildlife, but she'd rescued animals secretly for 48 years before being recognized by the provincial government last year.

"It's a complete 180 from what I used to do. Now I'm trying to make my property look presentable and not shabby, where before I was sort of camouflaging everything and doing everything literally undercover," she said.

"It's a complete new life for me this year."

We need to have an area where we can quarantine some animals that come in. — Cora Sonier, volunteer

Gallant says her business has more than tripled — where she used to get 800 or so calls per year, she now gets just as many calls every four months.

And she needs more room to keep up.

"I'm hoping to have a very nice building that is winter- and summer-friendly, so my injured animals that come through the winter have a place that's away from humans," she said.

"They can rehabilitate themselves, and get healthy enough to be released without becoming habituated — which has proven to be a problem in the past because I had to hide them in my house."

Not sure how long the current building will be upright

Cora Sonier works with Gallant as a volunteer and says funds will go toward making a dream facility and leave a place for future generations to take care of.

Laura Meader/CBC
Laura Meader/CBC

"Eventually we're going to want to build a nice facility that's going to have separated rooms for different animals, so that they're not all stuck in the same area," Sonier said.

"We need to have an area where we can quarantine some animals that come in ... there has to be plumbing, there has to be electricity."

Sonier said they're not just looking for donors, but volunteer tradespeople to help with renovations and construction.

The building they have now is in "rough shape" and the barn has had so many animals through it at this point that she's not sure how much longer it'll stay upright.

'I want to show them where it's going'

In addition to a new building, Gallant also wants a flight cage for predator birds, a fenced-in area for animals like foxes and more.

Laura Meader/CBC
Laura Meader/CBC

She aims to work toward a facility similar to Hope Swinimer's property in Nova Scotia. Swinimer runs Hope for Wildlife, a charitable, wildlife rehabilitation facility in Seaforth, N.S., set on a vast 8.5-hectare property.

Gallant calls Swinimer an inspiration and wants people to be just as excited to visit her own facility here on Prince Edward Island.

"I'd like to be able to be proud and let people come and see my facility and be proud of where their money is going," she said.

"Right now they're giving me money blindly out of good faith, so I want to show them where it's going."

The first fundraiser is scheduled for June 4 at the New London Community Centre.

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