06/12/2012 09:47 EDT | Updated 08/12/2012 05:12 EDT

Alberta Oil Spill: Baby Beaver Caught In Spill Nursed Back To Health


INNISFAIL, Alta. - A tiny baby beaver who was a victim of last week's pipeline leak into the Red Deer River is being nursed back to health by staff and volunteers at a central Alberta wildlife sanctuary.

Carol Kelly of the Medicine River Wildlife Centre near Innisfail, Alta., says Fish and Wildlife officials had asked them to be on standby to help out any animals affected by the disaster.

She says Gord and Bonnie Johnston, an area family whose property was covered by oil in the spill, brought in the week-old pup.

Kelly says consultants working on the spill have said they don't anticipate a large number of injured wildlife, but have told the centre to be prepared to take in at least a few others.

As for the tiny beaver, Kelly says he is doing well and is keeping company with another baby beaver who was brought to the sanctuary as an orphan.

She says the Johnstons know which beaver lodge he came from and the aim will be to return him to his parents once he's healthy.

"We try not to handle them or hand-feed them too much," she explains. "He already started this evening eating out of a bowl. We can give him lots of greens and branches and things to chew on, and as soon as everything is clean, and as long as the parents are still there, we will take him back."

She says her staff may even try to pull off a two-for-one.

"When we take him home, we have a little orphan here that needs another family, so those beavers might end up getting two babies back."

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