Coastal Animal Rescue and Education (CARE) Network is one step closer to opening a regional animal shelter thanks to a $30,000 donation from Tofino-based adventure tour operator Ocean Outfitters.
James Rodgers, CARE Network executive director, said the generous boost from Ocean Outfitters is earmarked for shelter fencing, which includes kennel runs and an electrified perimeter fence to keep wildlife passing through the area at a safe distance.
“Ocean Outfitters is very committed to keeping wildlife in the region safe and this new shelter facility as a key regional resource to that overall plan,” said Rodgers.
Ocean Outfitters general manager Ocean Shine spoke about mitigating wildlife conflict.
“Eight to 10 per cent of visitors bring their dogs here meaning 80,000 to 100,000 visiting dogs per year,” said Shine.
“Dogs attract wolves and keep wolves in the area. Dogs on and off leash disturb shorebirds. We have been helping to facilitate a large carnivore co-existence plan for the area. We wanted to support this facility because it is one piece of a regional plan to mitigate the negative impacts of local and visiting dogs to a fragile environment,” she said.
CARE Network teamed up with Bob Hansen, the Pacific Rim’s WildSafeBC co-ordinator, to design and install the perimeter fencing. Together, they brought in an expert in electric fencing for wildlife deterrents to help with the project.
“We had a look at the site and came up with a design that met [CARE’s] needs and I think that will be quite effective in safeguarding wildlife and preventing wildlife conflicts,” said Hansen.
“The location of this new facility, which is a really a great development for the region, is in a spot that has a history of quite a significant level of wildlife activity both bears and wolves,” he said.
CARE’s new West Coast animal shelter and care facility will temporarily house injured, ill, neglected and stray dogs, cats and other animals in need. A veterinary exam room is also planned.
The fenced facility, notes Rodgers, is a step forward for wildlife as it will allow CARE to also provide a dog daycare service so that folks recreating at the local beaches, parks and trails, have access to a fun, off-leash option for their dog(s) without negatively impacting the area’s wildlife.
James Rodgers, executive director of CARE Network, stands in front of the soon-to-be regional animal shelter located on property near the Tofino Long Beach Airport.
Rodgers said they are hoping to have the perimeter fencing installed by November. A few months ago, he purchased two ATCO trailers from Northern, AB, which will act as temporary kennel runs and exam rooms. Ahoy Bags donated 10 sails for CARE to use as tarps over the kennel runs.
“There has been an overwhelming outpouring of community support both financial and volunteer hours,” said Rodgers, adding that the new facility is an “off the-grid animal shelter” equipped with solar panels and propane for heat. And in the event of a tsunami, the facility is located on high ground.
To keep an eye on new developments, visit CARE Network’s Facebook page.