Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A Wild Animal Rescue Center has opened in Gangwon Province.

For a moment I imagined a sort of SWAT team or firefighting crew ready to rescue animals from kidnappers or stuck, like a kitten in a tree.

Probably, the initial contact with the animals they rescue will induce similar levels of adrenalin and the like. Injured herons have been known to kill, using their beak, driven through an eye-socket, to create a terminal lobotomy, and other animals may carry diseases from rabies to lyme disease (As an aside, the entrance to a local hiking trail warns of ticks and the diseases they carry). Also, the injured animals are unlikely to be sitting by the road, waiting for a pickup. They may receive the injuries by the road, but they won't wait there.

Anyway, Kangwon National University, Gangwon Province and the Environment Ministry have together built what sounds like an amazing rehabilitation center for injured wild animals. Currently, there are fifty animals receiving treatment, including a moose with a broken leg. I have to wonder how wild the moose is. Feral seems more likely.

Anyway, the Center sounds like a great place but visitors are apparently not encouraged. The Joongang tells us the center is in Gangwon Province but gives no further location information.
This is unsurprising. From the Aspen Valley Wildlife Center (located in my home district, Muskoka):
As our primary concern is rehabilitation, visiting is limited to: Wednesday and Sunday afternoons between 1 - 4; between the May long weekend and Thanksgiving weekend....Animals which we feel might be harmed by human attention are kept isolated - they must come first!

Volunteer organizations, like the Aspen Valley Center, have to keep some visitor hours simply to encourage donations. Perhaps the government-funded Gangwon center intends to keep animal-to-human interactions to a bare minimum.

Since I have already mentioned Muskoka, let me try to fit in a self-serving reference to another Muskoka rehab center, this one for birds. A Wing and A Prayer, run by Janice Enright is another volunteer organization and one that I briefly volunteered at. They never called me out to pick up an injured animal so my main contribution was in performing some basic carpentry. I hope it was a contribution; I had to cut chipboard for the interior walls and I have never been known for making straight cuts. I think the room I completed was draft-proof, I hope it was. Anyway, tying this thread into the main one; at A Wing and a Prayer, they kept human face-time with the birds down to an absolute minimum and were nationally recognized for raising loons from eggs to maturity without the birds imprinting on humans.

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