02/13/2017 08:51 EST | Updated 02/13/2017 08:51 EST

Can You Spare 60 Seconds For Toronto's Wildlife?

Boston Globe via Getty Images
BOSTON, MA - JULY 20: A bird flies by the new Millennium Tower, located on the corner of Summer and Washington Streets at Downtown Crossing in Boston, July 20, 2016. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)


Toronto Wildlife Centre (TWC) is the busiest wildlife facility in North America, with more than 5000 animals coming through their doors each year. Doors which-- since opening in March of 1993-- have been open more than 8500 days in a row.

TWC estimates that 85 per cent of the animals admitted to them are there due to human "interference", ranging from someone dumping baby squirrels in a garbage bin, to songbirds flying into office windows because the downtown core of Toronto was built along the ancient migratory route for these birds.

In addition to running a wildlife hotline, a full veterinary hospital, a specialized rescue program, a rehabilitation program to help sick/injured/orphaned wildlife, coordinating a volunteer team of more than 300 people, and offering a variety of educational initiatives, the City of Toronto staff routinely refer calls to them, list them as the organization to call for injured birds, and even rely on them to take charge in difficult rescues (remember Scoop, the baby raccoon rescued from the ledge of the Toronto Star building?).

This would all be okay if it weren't for one critical detail: the City of Toronto offers no funding support to TWC. In fact, TWC relies entirely on donations.

You read that right: they rely entirely on donations from people like you and me.

Even though the City of Toronto benefits greatly from TWC, and despite the fact that TWC has asked the City for funding assistance since 2001 - they have never received a dollar. Meanwhile, the City spends millions of dollars a year picking up sick, injured or orphaned wildlife, nearly all of whom are euthanized. TWC offers a humane, modern, and efficient approach to urban wildlife coexistence.

If, as a fellow animal lover, you were as shocked as I was to learn that the City of Toronto does not provide any financial support to TWC - now is our chance to change it!

Torontonians currently have the opportunity to step up for TWC, the way that TWC steps up for the tens of thousands of animals they help, 365 days a year, for more nearly 25 years.

TWC has put forth a funding request for the 2017 City of Toronto budget which includes two things:

1) a grant towards the construction of their new wildlife centre in the Rouge National Urban Park, which will improve the already impressive capacity of TWC (their current building is slated for demolition)

2) an assurance by the City that TWC will have a water supply for the new facility

Being a world-class city includes caring about the wild animals we share it with. Through their lifesaving work for nearly a quarter of a century, TWC has shown that there are modern, humane, and efficient ways to coexist and care for our wild neighbours. They have more than earned the support of Torontonians!

A 60 second phone call to your councillor and the mayor could make all the difference in ensuring this funding request is approved. For information on what to say, visit TWC's website.

Photo credit: L'Atelier Lumiere - International Photography

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