The Big Wash

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The Wildlife Rescue Association of BC (WRA) has been left to pick up the cleaning bill after a contamination incident at a pond in Surrey left more than a dozen water birds soiled.

The non-profit, originally got a call to its Wildlife Helpline about an oily orange substance in a pond near the Hazelmere RV Park near 8th Avenue in Surrey on Tuesday.

With no outside agencies on hand to help, Wildlife Rescue sent out a volunteer capture team on Wednesday which caught three heavily soiled mallard ducks. Another 11 birds were captured on site on Thursday afternoon by WRA staff and volunteers.

“When wildlife get caught up in pollution incidents like this, there are often no agencies to help or funds available to save them,” says Coleen Doucette, Executive Director of Wildlife Rescue. “If we didn’t step in and rescue these animals, they would just have been left to suffer a slow lingering death from hypothermia and poisoning.”

At a time when Wildlife Rescue expects to be treating fewer animals, staff and volunteers are preparing heated enclosures and bringing in extra supplies to deal with the emergency. Wildlife Rescue has estimated that it will cost $245 to house, clean, feed and care for a single duck for a week. The ducks are expected to be at the WRA Wildlife Hospital for ten days to two weeks and the extra costs are expected to reach at least $7,000.

The charity, which receives most of its funding from individual donations, is hoping that members of the public can help it cover the costs of the rescue operation. Donations will help to pay for the extra heating required for washing and warm water pools used for the post-wash recovery, food, medicine, blood-testing kits and extra laundry.

The first three birds admitted to the Wildlife Hospital will be cleaned on Friday morning. Extra volunteers have been called in to help with the cleaning operation which is expected to last throughout the Thanksgiving weekend.

Images available on request.

Yolanda Brooks, Communications Manager

Tel: 604 526 2747, ext. 504



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