The sound of splashing rings through an old Manitoba dairy barn as four baby beavers weave back and forth through the water, learning to swim in their makeshift pool. Their mother, who would have taught them this important skill, was killed by a dog leaving the tiny two-week-olds to fend for themselves near their birthplace, 200 kilometers northwest of Winnipeg.
Luckily, they were discovered and brought to the Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre, an organization that has been rehabilitating injured and orphaned wildlife from across Manitoba and northwestern Ontario for over 30 years.
“Beavers are very social and stay with mum normally for two years, and that’s how long they’ll need to stay in care before they’re returned to the wild,” says Tiffany Lui, Wildlife Haven volunteer.
But caring for animals like growing beavers won’t be possible during the coldest days of winter in the Wildlife Haven’s current home – an unheated dairy barn in Ile-des-Chenes, Manitoba.
“Our partnership with Wildlife Haven stands to span over 70 years and that’s really how we view our relationships in every community,” Andrea Jalbert, TransCanada’s vice-president of community and sustainability.
That makes the June 4 sod turning for Wildlife Haven’s new facility even more timely. With almost half of the $2.5 million for their capital plan now raised, construction on their new hospital will begin this summer. Once all the money is raised, Wildlife Haven’s complete capital plan will also see an education centre, flyways for large birds and a $250,000 mammal and waterfowl structure to replace the blue storage bin where the beaver kits are learning to swim today.
“It’s exciting to be moving toward our permanent home base,” says Judy Robertson, Wildlife Haven board chair. “With this new facility, we will be able to really increase and improve the rehabilitation and public outreach we currently provide.”
The location of the new facility is on 18 acres of land adjacent to Station 41 on TransCanada’s mainline system, which has delivered natural gas to millions of North Americans since 1958.
“The wildlife around here is used to cohabitating alongside society and industry,” says Robertson. “They’ve had human activity around them all their lives. But on our side, being aware of wildlife and the things we can do to coexist successfully is important. That’s why we have a program that engages those animals whose injuries prevent them from returning to the wild as educational ambassadors. They help train us about wildlife interaction.”
TransCanada’s partnership with Wildlife Haven spans many decades, with support for their education ambassador program since 1994, and an announcement of a 50-year community land lease and $500,000 to support Wildlife Haven’s capital campaign in 2014.
“Our partnership with Wildlife Haven stands to span over 70 years and that’s really how we view our relationships in every community,” says Andrea Jalbert, TransCanada’s vice-president of community and sustainability. “We are also grateful for other sponsors who have come forward to help Wildlife Haven reach their goal and hope they receive the support they need to achieve their complete capital plan.”
As well as community investment, there are many layers to the relationship TransCanada has with our communities, from safely delivering the energy today’s society needs, to creating jobs and providing tax benefits to pay for things like schools, roads and hospitals.
TransCanada also recognizes that how we interact with the environment is of vital importance to all our stakeholders. That’s why our Environment Strategy reflects our long-term corporate culture when it comes to environmental stewardship, protection and performance and guides our decisions every day when building and operating energy infrastructure and making meaningful investments with community partners, like Wildlife Haven.
Click here to learn more about Wildlife Haven’s new facility plan and to donate.