Message from the Board
2022 was a big year for the Kawartha Wildlife Centre. We soared past the 2000 patient milestone with over 700 patients by the end of the year! As we move into 2023, we have new goals, with the same commitment to help wildlife in need and promote wildlife coexistence.
To that end, we are excited to launch a partnership with the Peterborough Public Library this April, with the delivery of a fantastic “Wildlife HERO” Certificate, featuring 6 weeks of after-school programming consisting of games, stories, and learning activities. Each week is themed across wildlife groups: mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, insects, and reptiles, focusing on conservation, patient stories, and ways to become wild!
As we look ahead into 2023, we are expecting to see increasing resource demands as our patient load continues to expand. Since 2019, we have seen approximately 50% increases in patient numbers year-over-year, as demand for care of injured and orphaned wildlife continues to grow. Monthly donors are more important than ever before to ensure we have the resources to meet the demand for wildlife in need this year. Please consider becoming a monthly donor today, small contributions can add up to large impact, and having consistent reliable support means we can plan for the future.
Thank you for your support of Ontario wildlife,
Chair, Board of Directors
Join the KWC Family!
2023 Memberships are now available! Be a voice for wildlife in critical need and help us #KeepKawarthaWild!
There are many ways to support KWC, check out our new Partnership Package!
After the fall migration season is over and most birds have flown to find warm refuge further south, mammals are left to either brave the cold or hunker down for hibernation.
Hibernation vs. Torpor
Torpor is a state of decreased body temperature and metabolism, allowing animals to survive periods of low food availability or inclement conditions.
Hibernation is when an organism spends the winter in a long-term multi-day torpor, specifically for survival of cold conditions.
This southern flying squirrel has been staying with us while we wait for a warm break in the weather so she can safely return home. She awoke her finders in the early morning hours after making her way inside their house. If we released this squirrel back to her territory in the cold of winter, it may be very challenging for her to get back to her colony before succumbing to the elements or predators.
Southern flying squirrels are nocturnal and are active throughout the winter nights, they do not hibernate. In order to soar through the trees finding caches of stored food, they must stay nimble and lightweight. They can reduce their metabolic rate and body temperature to conserve energy, but to stay warm, they nest together in groups consisting of family and neighbours in treetop cavities. Some find their way into attics or buildings where they benefit from the radiant warmth.
As soon as weather permits, she will return to her neighbourhood to reunite with her colony. In the meantime, she is being housed and kept comfortable in temperature controlled conditions in an effort to replicate her winter nesting environment.
If you have contained a flying squirrel from inside your home, garage or workshop during the winter, contact us or another authorized wildlife custodian before releasing it to ensure it is healthy and safe to do so. If you are concerned about nesting animals in your attic spaces during the winter, please do not attempt to trap and relocate them. Not only does this leave them vulnerable to the elements, unfamiliar territory and predators, it also risks the transmission of diseases and pathogens that can negatively affect the health of wild populations. It is also illegal to relocate wildlife in most situations in Ontario.
Bats in the house
Insectivores like bats have few options when flying insects die or or go dormant. With nothing available to eat, they either migrate south with the birds and monarchs, or hibernate through the winter. Bats may enter a state of torpor for just a few hours to save energy during a cold day, or they can remain in torpor for up to a month while hibernating over winter. During hibernation, bats cycle through periods of torpor interrupted by brief periods of arousal when their body temperatures return to normal for a few hours where they stretch, drink, relieve themselves.
Bats are sensitive to temperature changes, individuals may sometimes wake up and enter a house during winter thaws or bouts of extreme cold. When this occurs, bats are frequently found near sources of water (e.g. toilet, shower, sink) because they need water between periodic breaks from hibernation. Because they have high tolerance for a wide range of environmental conditions, including those that are colder, drier and more exposed to air currents, big brown bats are the most common species to roost in attics and enter houses in the winter.
Many of Ontario’s species of hibernating bats are affected by a fungal disease called white-nose syndrome. This disease kills bats by causing them to arouse from hibernation too frequently, which uses up their energy stores before winter is finished. Any live bats found indoors during the winter should be taken to a wildlife custodian authorized and equipped to accept bats as soon as possible. With no available sources of food, they cannot survive being released outside, and will perish in sub-zero temperatures.
Never touch a bat bare-handed, even if it is dead. Always wear thick gloves, and use a yogurt tub with cardboard, or a blanket to move and secure if necessary. For more information on what to do if you find a bat inside your home, visit batwatch.ca/what-do-if-you-find-bat-your-house.
Since the species of bat found in Canada are strictly insectivores, they help control insect populations. The ecological services provided by bats reduce damage to harvests by insect pests. In this way, they act as natural insecticides.
Please visit Bat Watch for more information about Ontario’s 8 species of bats, with helpful guidance for coexisting with these amazing insectivores.
We still have a few of these gorgeous birch reindeer decorations!
Incredibly gifted local artist Brian Luloff has generously donated twelve hand crafted birch deer in support of our wildlife patients! These decorative pieces are quite large, from 30-50" inches.