Candy Gallant of Southwest Lot 16, PEI, raises funds for a new wildlife facility to help manage the influx of animals onto her property.
Gallant has a legal license to rehabilitate and release wildlife, but she had secretly rescued animals for 48 years before being recognized by the provincial government last year.
“It’s a complete 180 of what I used to do. Now I try to make my property presentable and not shabby, whereas before I camouflaged everything and literally did everything undercover,” said she declared.
“It’s a whole new life for me this year.”
We need to have an area where we can quarantine some animals that come in. — Cora Sonier, volunteer— Cora Sonier, volunteer
Gallant says her business has more than tripled – from receiving around 800 calls a year, she now receives as many calls every four months.
And she needs more space to follow.
“I hope to have a very nice building suitable for winter and summer, so that my injured wintering animals have a place away from humans,” she said.
“They can rehabilitate and regain sufficient health to be released without getting used to them – which has proven to be a problem in the past because I had to hide them in my house.”
I don’t know how long the current building will be standing
Cora Sonier works with Gallant as a volunteer and says the funds will be used to create a dream facility and leave a place for future generations to care for.
“Eventually, we’re going to want to build a nice facility that will have separate rooms for different animals, so they’re not all stuck in the same area,” Sonier said.
“We have to have an area where we can quarantine certain animals that come in…there has to be plumbing, there has to be electricity.”
Sonier said they were not just looking for donors, but volunteer craftsmen to help with renovations and construction.
The building they have now is in “rough condition” and the barn has had so many animals at this point that it’s unclear how long it will be standing.
“I want to show them where it’s going”
In addition to a new building, Gallant also wants a flight cage for predatory birds, a fenced area for animals like foxes and more.
She aims to work towards a facility similar to Hope Swinimer’s property in Nova Scotia. Swinimer runs Hope for Wildlife, a charitable wildlife rehabilitation center in Seaforth, Nova Scotia, located on a sprawling 8.5 hectare property.
Gallant calls Swinimer an inspiration and wants people to be equally excited to visit his own facilities here in Prince Edward Island.
“I wish I could be proud and let people come and see my establishment and be proud of where their money is going,” she said.
“Right now they’re giving me money blindly in good faith, so I want to show them where it’s going.”
The first fundraiser is scheduled for June 4 at the New London Community Centre.