Province provides aid to animal refuge
Date Published | June 27, 2006
Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci feeds a baby moose at the Wild at Heart Refuge Centre while talking to employee Sarah Moulaison. The centre is operated by veterinarian Dr. Rod Jouppi, three staff members and many volunteers.
BY HEIDI ULRICHSEN
Twenty-five years ago, Lively veterinarian Dr. Rod Jouppi treated his first wild animal, a rough-legged hawk.
“I probably did everything wrong. At that time there wasn’t much known, but I was successful,” he says.
“I released the hawk. He didn’t say thanks, he didn’t give me any money, but I think I got enough personal satisfaction to continue treating wildlife for the next 25 years.”
Jouppi’s passion for taking care of sick and injured wildlife has grown over the years, and led him to found the Wild at Heart Refuge Centre.
The back of his animal clinic has become overrun with cages holding everything from injured birds to baby raccoons. There’s even two baby moose – Norm and Cliff – who live in a large cage in the backyard.
The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation gave Jouppi $165,300 Tuesday to construct better facilities for the 400 animals he cares for each year. The money will also be used to build an education centre where people can get a peek at the patients. The project is expected to be completed in October 2007.
Jouppi donated two acres of his own land to build a 2,400 square foot building, which will hold an intensive care and surgery unit, as well as the education centre.
The vet will work with local school boards and post-secondary institutions to develop educational programs for students.
“There will be a lot of one-way glass and video systems so that we can actually educate people without distressing the wildlife,” he says.
“Along with that, we’re going to have an outdoor area where we’re going to have avaries, small enclosures and a large flight pen about 100 feet long so that eagles and hawks can go through rehabilitation and learn how to fly again.”
If he manages to get more funding, Jouppi will build a large pen for deer, moose and elk where they can browse in a natural setting.
Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci, who made the funding announcement, remembers bringing injured and orphaned wild animals to Jouppi when he was a teacher at a nearby school.
The vet never charged the school for his services, says Bartolucci.
“He said we need to foster a love of animals, and if we foster a love of animals, we foster respect for animals,” says the MPP.
“I think this is the example everyone should live by when it comes to the care, concern for and treatment of animals.”
The animals at the Wild at Heart Refuge Centre are cared for 24 hours a day by Jouppi, three staff members and about 30 volunteers.
Before Norm the moose was joined by Cliff, volunteers slept with him in his cage at night so he wouldn’t get lonely.
“We can have habitats that are closer to what they have in the wild, and it will be easier for us to work in.”
Funding for young northerners who wish to remain in
The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation is investing $1.6 million for 94 internships and work placements.
Adam Malolepsky, who completed an internship with the Regional Business Centre and who has now been hired as a full-time account manager with Atlas Copco, is grateful for the skills and experience he’s gained through his placement.
“I think it’s great that full-time employment is made available here in the north,” said Malolepsky.