Wildlife Hospital F.A.Q.s
When are you open?
The MARS Wildlife Hospital is open every day of the year, from 9am to 5pm. In the busy summer season, these hours are often extended as volunteers work around the clock to care for the orphaned wildlife.
What animals do you rehabilitate?
We rehabilitate almost all wildlife, including birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles. We are not equipped or permitted to rehabilitate cougars, bears, and adult deer/elk. If you find one of these animals in distress, please call the BC Conservation Service at 1-877-952-7277.
Do you rehabilitate deer?
Yes, we rehabilitate deer. In fact, MARS has one of the largest deer rehabilitation programs in BC! However, we can only accept deer when they are young fawns with spots. We are not able to rehabilitate adult deer for a couple of reasons:
- Adult deer are very high stress animals. In captivity they will eventually succumb to a muscle degenerative condition called “capture myopathy”, which is induced by the stress of rescue, transport, restraint, and confinement.
- Adult deer can be very dangerous due to their large size and strength. When they are frightened, they tend to kick and thrash and can cause serious injury to their rescuers.
If you find an injured adult deer, please call the BC Conservation Service at 1-877-952-7277 so that the animal may be assessed by a Conservation Officer and humanely euthanized if necessary.
Is the hospital staffed?
We have two full-time veterinary staff at the MARS Wildlife Hospital who supervise animal care and hospital operations. Each year, we also apply for the federal Canada Summer Jobs grant which allows us to hire additional staff for the season. Our team mainly consists of a diverse group of dedicated volunteers who do everything from washing kennels to data entry!
Can I volunteer at the Wildlife Hospital?
We are always looking for volunteers to help out at the MARS Wildlife Hospital. Check out our volunteer page to learn about the requirements and duties associated with each volunteer position.
Do you have vets on staff?
We do not have vets on staff at MARS, but we work with local vet clinics to provide advanced medical care to our wildlife patients. These include Campbell River Veterinary Hospital, Raintree Veterinary Hospital, Country Animal Hospital, and Tsolum Mobile Veterinary Health. We are very grateful for their services and expertise, which are often donated!
How do I get an update on an animal that was admitted to the MARS Wildlife Hospital?
When you bring an animal to the MARS Wildlife Hospital, you will be given the animal’s case number. For updates, please call the Hospital main line at 250-337-2021 and leave a message. We receive a high volume of calls and have to prioritize wildlife emergencies, but we will return your call as soon as we can.
Can I visit a patient at the MARS Wildlife Hospital?
The MARS Wildlife Hospital and recovery enclosures are not open to visitors. Wild animals generally do not find human contact comforting and we do our best to provide them with a safe, natural, and peaceful environment in which to grow, rest, and recuperate. If you want to see wildlife up close, we would love the opportunity to take you on a tour of our Visitor Centre, where you can meet some of the MARS ambassadors!
Where do you release wildlife?
When a patient recovers, we usually try to return them to the area where they were found because they will be familiar with resources in their territory and may even have family waiting for them! If returning them to the immediate area is not appropriate, we will look for a suitable habitat nearby.