Wildlife also struggling with poor air quality - InfoNews

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Wildlife also struggling with poor air quality

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August 09, 2017 - 6:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - While the air quality health index in Kamloops continues to stay in the "very high" health risk zone, even wildlife in the area are feeling the effects.

WildSafeBC coordinator Frank Ritcey posted a video to Facebook earlier this week showing a deer struggling to breathe. He doesn't know what factors played into the deer's laboured breathing, but says it could have been anything from heat, to smoke, to a pre-existing condition.

B.C. Wildlife Park animal care supervisor Adrienne Clay says she wouldn't be surprised if the deer was reacting to the poor air quality in Kamloops.

"We’re finding that our animals are having the same types of difficulty breathing that other people are having," Clay says. 

Every animal is being affected differently, Clay says. For example, some of the birds at the B.C. Wildlife Park have been open-mouth breathing in order to try and get more oxygen.

The park has stopped certain activities for animals, like flying the birds outside for a daily show.

She says many animals are in mild distress with a bit of panting, and animals have been less happy than normal since the air quality began deteriorating.

"They’re not as happy as they normally are," Clay says. "They probably all have headaches like we do."

Goats are also reacting to the poor air quality, Clay says, and they've restricted hours for the daily family farm to give the goats a rest.

Clay says many of the animals are showing short-term, immediate effects to the air quality and they're hoping there will be no long-term issues resulting.

"This smoke can go away any time," Clay says.

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