Kamloops residents, businesses found more than $100,000 for B.C. Wildlife Park - InfoNews

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Kamloops residents, businesses found more than $100,000 for B.C. Wildlife Park

Staff at the B.C. Wildlife Park gave a private tour to a pair of Kamloops siblings who raised more than $10,000 for the park.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK / B.C. Wildlife Park
June 02, 2020 - 7:00 AM

The B.C. Wildlife Park is welcoming guests back, and the executive director is glad they didn’t have to face the worst-case scenario of rehoming or leasing out any of the animals during the COVID-19 related closure.

That could be due in part to more than $100,000 that has come in from community fundraisers and donations.

Glenn Grant, executive director of the B.C. Wildlife Park, says he and the park staff were surprised to see more than $108,000 come in from community donations in less than ten weeks.

“I absolutely did not (expect the donations), it overwhelmed all of us… it’s really reassuring and nice to know how much the community actually supports the park,” Grant says. “We’ve known that the community of Kamloops is hugely supportive of our facility and what we do and why we do it, but when it really got down to the crunch, it was really inspiring to see the support that we got.”

Grant says the money came in from initiatives such as two siblings running a $10,000 bottle drive, independent fundraising efforts by individuals, online donations and cheques from local businesses.

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In April, Grant wasn’t too sure what the future held for the animals at the park.

“At that point, we didn’t know what the future would hold… but none of our animals have left the park. All the animals are here and they’re happy to welcome everybody back today.”

Grant says there were people lined up outside of the park gates for the first day back. All of the laid-off employees have returned, and staff and guests are following social distancing guidelines to ensure safety and cleanliness.

Grant says the gate fees will help the park, but assures anyone who has donated that the money will strictly be used for animal care such as food and veterinary costs. He says the annual cost for food and vet care costs about $120,000 per year, while the animal rehabilitation centre costs around $75,000 to run and the burrowing owl breeding program is a $30,000 expense.

“Donated money would go towards the health and care of the animals that are here. So as people continue to donate, that money goes directly to feeding them… The feed and the veterinary care for all of our animals is first and foremost. We look after our rehabilitation program and the burrowing owl breeding program, everything else is after.”

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Although Mondays are typically one of the slower days for the park, Grant says he is happy that more than 100 guests have already visited. He says the park will reassess operations and projects as time goes on, as many new undertakings were put on the back burner during the closure.

“As we lost those revenues from the gate, we also cut a lot of expenses that weren’t essential… some of our larger projects that we had anticipated doing had been put on hold until we generate enough money to continue with those,” Grant says.

If you want to donate to the B.C. Wildlife Park, you can enter a photo contest, drop off some empties, or donate online.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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