Feathered and furry patients at Medicine River Wildlife Centre will soon be live-streamed to people around the world.
A 90-metre cell tower was donated to the centre and will be situated in the centre’s parking lot.
“All we need to do right now is get a crane to place the tower, then we’ll be off and running,” said executive director Carol Kelly.
“We hope to have it up and running next month.”
Medicine River Wildlife Centre, located west of Innisfail, runs a wildlife hospital and environmental education centre dedicated to assisting injured and orphaned wild animals to return to their natural environment.
Kelly said right now Internet service is “brutal.”
Live-streaming is impossible and Internet service is spotty. When service is lost, it can take a while before it reconnects, she said.
“We’ve been told a lot of it has to do with the cell towers out here being overloaded with so many people using them.
“This tower will be completely dedicated to us. There will be no one else on the tower with us.”
She said the tower is a fundraising investment and education tool that will allow anyone to cheer on the patients during their hospital stay.
Right now, it’s baby season when the centre is home to young animals and birds.
Not only are babies arriving, but a lot of concerned citizens are calling. Recently, a woman with a baby magpie in her yard called because it looked like it had a broken tail and a big magpie was swooping down at it.
Kelly gave her a quick lesson.
“That’s the baby that has just jumped out the nest. His tail hasn’t grown yet and his parents are flying around feeding him, not attacking him.”
“I got a call from a lady in the Pines Sunday night. They saw a fawn come up and curl up and go to sleep right in the parking lot. They wanted to know if they should intervene. I told them no. I told them about the deer’s habits.”
All was well the next morning, Kelly said.
A makeshift hospital will soon be set up in a mobile home on the centre’s property as preparations begin for its $2.5-million renovation project.
Work is expected to begin in July or August.
When complete, the facility will more than double its space to more than 10,000 square feet from its existing 4,500 square feet.
The renovations include adding a new hospital wing, and upgrading and expanding the public area.
The exterior work will be completed this summer and fall, while the inside finishing work will be done over the winter with the goal to re-open for the centre’s 30th anniversary in 2014.
The centre is now closed to the public but people can still use the trails and picnic sites on the property.
Kelly said people can still be part of the renovation project by sponsoring a square foot in the upgrade for $300. Sponsorship for 2,000 square feet will complete the new hospital wing.
Names of sponsors will go on the donor board in the public wing and a tree will be planted on the property in the name of each sponsor.
“What we’re going to do is GPS all the trees so we know exactly where everybody’s tree is.”
For more information, go to www.medicineriverwildlifecentre.ca or call 403-728-3467.