PRDA horses are taking it easy while smoke from wildfires hangs in the air. Volunteers Angela Bowering and Kara Mah led Andrew and Katharina Lieblich, riding Gimli and Dodger respectively, in Campbell Valley Regional Park.

Lower Mainland animals feeling effects of smoky skies

Animal shelters are trying to keep their critters healthy through the smoggy days.

The smoky skies aren’t just affecting the human residents of Langley and the Lower Mainland – the air pollution is affecting animals as well.

At the Critter Care Wildlife Society shelter in South Langley, orphaned and abandoned wild animals are nursed back to health.

“We keep a very close eye on what’s here in care,” said founder and director Gail Martin.

Right now there are two black bear cubs and eight or nine fawns at Critter Care, along with the numerous raccoons, otters, skunks, and other small mammals the organization nurses back to health before releasing into the wild.

“We make sure that they have nice clean pools to play in all the time,” said Martin. Many of the animals are getting treats – fruit frozen in ice – to play with and help keep them cool and refreshed while the weather is hot, dry, and smoky.

The wildfire season hasn’t resulted in a large influx of new animals from the Interior, though B.C. Conservation Service officers do know that they can bring orphaned animals to Critter Care, Martin said.

“Still lots of babies coming in, but from down here, not up there,” Martin said.

Unfortunately, she said many animals will simply die in the wildfires of the Interior, overcome by smoke.

Over at the CARES cat shelter in the Milner neighbourhood, enclosed outdoor “catios” built a few years back are getting much less use, said Clive Ellis, the shelter’s fundraising chair.

“We’re not letting them out in the runs right now, except very sparingly,” Ellis said.

“We haven’t noticed any respiratory effects,” but the volunteers and staff at CARES are being cautious, he said.

From kittens to much larger domestic animals, the horses at Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities are also being treated carefully until the weather changes.

PRDA offers people with physical and cognitive disabilities the chance to get on a horse for equine therapy. It’s both physical exercise and the chance to bond with an animal.

The volunteers at PRDA are being very careful with those animals right now, said Margo Klassen, the PRDA instruction coordinator.

“It’s the smoke and the dryness,” Klassen said. “Some of the horses are coughing a little bit more than they used to, some running eyes as well.”

All rides are being taken at a very leisurely pace, Klassen said, though there have been no ride cancellations.

They’re being careful with their horses, who are often senior citizens themselves, as they’re chosen for being docile and friendly.

Just Posted

Friends of ‘Mac’ rally to fund young family left behind by former martial arts teacher in Surrey

‘He’s well loved,’ says operator of Fraser Heights academy where Mackenzie MacWilliams studied, worked

Surrey burglar loses appeal on Hook & Ladder break-in conviction

The case centred on a Jan. 3, 2016 break-in at the Newton pub

Police food drive to help feed North Delta kids

Donations collected will go support the Rotary Club’s Starfish Pack program

Bus driver assault in Vancouver once again raises safety concerns

A 49-year-old Surrey man was released on a promise to appear in court. No charge has been laid

‘Inventive ideas’ sought soon for Surrey One Act Festival, set to return to Whalley stage

Also planned by Royal Canadian Theatre Company is a Five Minute Play Writing Challenge

VIDEO: Killer whales hunt for seals in Vancouver harbour

Bigg’s killer whales feed on marine mammals like seals, sea lions, dolphins and even other whales

VIDEO: B.C.’s waving granny gets incredible send-off from school kids

Tinney Davidson has been waving at students on their way to school for over 11 years, but is moving in a month

Struggling B.C. adoption agency elects new board that intends to keep it open

The previous board announced that Choices would close May 31

Woman, 60, charged in connection to thefts at YVR

RCMP believe the foreign national is part of a larger organized theft group

Vancouver man, 19, charged in human trafficking case involving teen girl

The 16-year-old girl was reported missing and later discovered in Vancouver

Worst 10 bus routes in Metro Vancouver for rider complaints

TransLink releases list, with Route 319 at the top

VIDEO: Highway One to be widened east to 264th Street in Fraser Valley

The $235 million project includes upgrades to overpasses and a rail bridge

Most Read