Wild Times

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7 Days a Week!

From 10 am- 6 pm

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What is the smallest wild canine in Ontario?

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Do you want to volunteer at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre?

There is lots of dirty work to be done. If you love to be outside and are physically strong why not help out? If you know of any high school students who need their community service hours, they can serve them here!

Contact our centre for more information.

Visitor Photo

Gargoyle the green frog

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Summer 2010

In this Issue

Has It Really Been 10 Years?!

Wow, time flies when you’re having fun. Our wildlife centre has been around now for 10 years and what a wild ride it has been.

Sign at the MWCDale and Jody started the centre with hope that they could make a difference in the lives of wild creatures, through caring for them and teaching people how to live more harmoniously with them. Both Dale and Jody had started their careers 23 and 17 years ago respectively, on different sides of the country, working at zoos. Each of them had an strong interest and innate ability to understand creatures great and small, from a very young age. Their paths crossed while working at a zoo, here in Ontario. Jody was a zookeeper and Dale owned the company than ran the education department at the zoo. Both were very frustrated at the lack of education (both posted at exhibits and exchanged face to face) at zoos in Ontario. After working together for a couple of years, the couple decided to try things from a different angle. Instead of breeding animals in captivity or buying animals for display, they would concentrate on taking in only those creatures that needed to be in captivity. Countless animals have been helped by the Muskoka Wildlife Centre, either by making the centre their home or by the efforts of Dale and Jody to find them homes at other credible facilities.

It is a struggle, ever year, to keep the centre going. Funds are always very tight and resources very limited. If it were not for the help of individuals out there who care as much as Dale and Jody, the centre would not exist today.

Dale and Jody with Rufus and Wil Scarlet Dale and Jody with Quillber

Thank you to those of you (you know who you are) who have been there, beside us, on this incredible journey. Now let’s keep this place going and making a difference for another 10 years and beyond!

Creature Feature - Common Raven

Ravens Whether they are depicted as messengers of darkness or intelligent and all knowing, ravens have left their mark throughout history. The 19th century poet, Edgar Allen Poe, wrote “The Raven”, an erie poem with a raven that kept repeating the word “nevermore’” throughout. The Haida and other Native American Peoples believed the raven to be a Trickster God, who discovered the first humans hiding in a clam shell. The chief god in Norse mythology, Odin, employed two ravens to fly around the world as spies. A group of ravens is called a murder and their presence is often considered a bad omen.

Whether you are of the mind set that ravens are pests, or if you believe they hold other-worldly powers, it is hard to deny their intelligence and adaptability. Many scientific trials have shown these large members of the crow family to possess superior intelligence and problem solving skills. Ravens have been known to spy on each other and memorize the hiding places others have hidden their food. In defense, some ravens now pretend to hide food, to throw the would-be thieves. In some cities, ravens have been seen dropping nuts in busy intersections, for cars to crush and then collecting the spoils when the traffic dies down. Ravens have an ongoing relationship with wolves. They will make a lot of noise to alert wolves to a dead animal like a moose or deer because their beaks can’t peck through the hide easily. When the wolves come, the carcass gets torn open and the ravens benefit once the wolves have had their fill.

RavenHighly social, the raven uses a wide variety of vocal sounds to communicate with its mate and other family members. They have even been known to mimic humans and man-made sounds. Found everywhere in Ontario and across Canada, the raven can survive and thrive in most environments. Their diet is made up of almost anything that you can think of: fruits, seeds, amphibians, birds, small mammals, reptiles, nuts, vegetation, insects, eggs, carrion and human waste (which is all too available, thanks to our messy habits). The raven usually mates for life and they share the duties of raising the young, who will stay with their parents until they are 6 months old.

Here at the centre we have come to the conclusion that our ravens, named Nevermore and Edgar, are far more intelligent than us and most of our staff are pretty intimidated by them. I think they may know something they are not telling us. Coming to us as a chick, after being blown out of his nest at the top of a tall pine tree and permanently damaging his wing, it didn’t take long for Nevermore to learn some of our language. When you come to visit you may hear him saying “Hello” or sometimes he’ll say “Hector”, “Come Hector”, “No Hector” or “Atta Boy Hector”. Hector is the centre directors’ dog and spends much of his time outside around the raven enclosure. Our other raven, Edgar, was surrendered to us by a private person after he had been kept in a parrot cage in a house for 4 years. He was very mentally disturbed by that experience and as a result, had pulled out almost all of his feathers. He obviously lived in a house with someone who played video games as he can perfectly mimic the sounds of several types of digital sounding weapons. Since being mixed in with Nevermore, Edgar has improved mentally and seems quite settled. We are currently working with Nevermore and hope to have him join our live-animal outreach team this summer, on the road, teaching Ontarians about his incredible kind...at this point we are not sure if our staff are training him or he is training them.

Did you know about our live animal outreach program?

...it’s Canada’s largest, and travels across Ontario visiting organized groups of every kind. Our team of interpreters and amazing wildlife have visited daycares, seniors residences, camps, resorts, schools, libraries, provincial and national parks, science centres, family picnics, birthday parties, just to name a few. Maybe we should bevisiting you too... contact us for more information about this inspiring and exciting program.
Flower Flower Flower Flower

News at the Centre

Sad news...

  • We knew she wouldn’t last forever, but we were still not ready to say goodbye to Flower, our little skunk, who passed away of old age recently. She met, and helped us teach, more people than any other animal at our centre, throughout the years. She may have been tiny, but she has left an enormous hole here at the centre.
  • Another old friend, Fergus, arguably the largest bullfrog ever, also passed away of natural causes recently. She was truly a wonder to behold.

Some great news...

  • We have a couple of new members of the family to introduce to you: Eve, a tiny gray wolf pup, was rescued from a grim fate and has come to live with us permanently. She was born in captivity in a zoo. The hierarchy of her pack was in question and during the turmoil her siblings were killed. The zoo-keepers intervened as quickly as they could but Eve was the only surviving pup. She couldn’t be left in with the pack and came to live with us at just 2.5 weeks of age.
    We also had a ferret rescue organization turn over to us what was presented to them as ‘a ferret’ by a member of the public. It turned out to be an adult male mink. We have named him Reed and we hope to mix him with our resident Marten, Connifer.
  • Make a Wish Foundation brought our centre and the Kratt Brothers together for a little girl named Noah recently. It was her wish to spend the day with the famous t.v. personalities and some animals. Our beaver, lynx, great horned owl, wood turtle and rat snake enjoyed meeting this very special little girl. We wish Noah the best.
    Noah and Kratt Brothers - Make a Wish
  • We are organizing a fundraising cruise for this coming fall so keep tuned for more notice of this!
  • We have a Friends of the Muskoka Wildlife Centre Facebook Page with news, pics, and lots of info... Join now!
  • When we put out our last newsletter we were complaining about our horrible fax/copier/scanner/printer machine and a very generous couple stepped forward and gave us a replacement machine like no other. Thank you so much Pam and Hugh.
  • One of our centre’s directors, Jody will be headed off to the west coast to film some more Hinterland Who’s Who public service announcements, in July. The focus will be Rainforests of and the killer whale. She will also be filming an internet episode called ‘Who Tube’, for youth, about the effects of pollution in natural water systems.
  • We will be moving our moose to a MUCH larger space. We have a 9 acre enclosure that is almost complete. We still need $12,000 to finish the project and are hoping to raise those funds in the next month, so we can get the girls(Chocolate and Lucky) into it for the summer. Once the moose are moved over and settled, we will be adding an elk and a caribou to the space as well. These two new family members are housed at another facility right now, waiting for the enclosure to be completed. Contact us to make a donation towards the project or donate online using paypal at www.muskokawildlifecentre.com.

What Do We Need?  We are glad you asked.

Our budget is always tight and our supporters and visitors have been asking how they can help.  If you would like to gift us something really useful, here is a list:

  • Printer paper and photo paper 8.5”x11”(for sponsorship packages)
  • Lamination sheets 8.5”x11” (for sponsorship certificates and trail signs)
  • Freezer meat (no seasoned, smoked or cooked - a little freezer burn is okay)
  • Heavy duty large garbage pails (we go through so many and always need more)
  • Toilet paper and paper towels
  • Bleach, Pine sol, Dish soap
  • Canadian Tire Money eh!
  • Towels
  • A lawn mower
  • A washing machine


The Muskoka Wildlife Centre is an interactive learning park dedicated to the long term care of un-releasable native Ontario wildlife. It's a place where people can gain an appreciation for some of the amazing creatures that share this beautiful province with us. Many of the resident animals are ex - pets, injured or abandoned wildlife. These hand-raised and well socialized creatures live out their lives, nestled comfortably in spacious naturalistic enclosures. With fifty acres of trails, a beautiful picnic area, a gift/snack shop and daily interactive programming, a visit to the Muskoka Wildlife Centre is an unique nature experience that should not be missed. The centre also offers the highly acclaimed outreach program "Speaking of Wildlife", which has been travelling across Ontario delivering educational and entertaining presentations to thousands of organized groups since 1989.

"Here at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre, we believe people protect only what they love and can only love what they understand."