Tuesday, August 3, 2010

B.C. Wildlife Park ~ Kamloops, BC

Wildlife & Falconry ~ Eagles ~ Hawks ~ Owls

The Kamloops Zoological Society was first formed on March 31, 1965 with John Moelaert, whose motto became “Conservation through Education” as founder. On February 11, 1966 the Molson’s Brewery, who owned a hop farm east of Kamloops, donated 106 acres to be used as a wildlife park. The first exhibition opened to the public in August 1966 and the rest, as they say, is history.

BC Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is a facility dedicated to mammals, birds of prey, amphibians, reptiles and endangered species. They care for the injured and orphaned and when they are healed or grown, they will be released back into their natural habitats, and when possible it will be the one they came from. When that isn’t possible, some have become permanent residents at the Wildlife Park.

B.C. Wildlife Park Amphitheatre

We recently visited the park now known as the B.C. Wildlife Park to see the Summer Falconry Show, as we had a great eagle fan in our midst. We hadn’t been to the park in awhile so were pleasantly surprised to see the new additions, one being the Amphitheater. Birds are beautiful, as long as they’re not flying too near me, but I sat in the theater, ready to dive, thanks to a Hitchcock movie of years ago, enjoying the show and the excellent information given by the falconry expert.

Echo ~ the Ferruginous hawk
Echo is a Ferruginous Hawk who came to live at the park from the Pacific Northwest Raptors in Duncan, BC when she was 4 months old. She is now 3 years old and this is her first season as a performer in the Falconry Show. The Ferruginous Hawk is the largest one in North American with a wing span of 1.4 meters (53”). They are not typically in BC but are found in the US.

Tyto the Barn Owl
Born in Ontario, Tyto (pronounced Tee-Toe) came here when he was very young, he’s a very chatty little guy. His unique heart-shaped face allows him to hear and see better at night, giving him the advantage of hunting after dark. These barn owls cannot tolerate real cold weather and do not migrate so they live in the coastal areas. They’re an asset to have on the farm as one family will consume up to 1000 mice a year. A great solution to a mouse problem !
Gontron the Turkey Vulture
The Turkey Vulture is not a pretty bird with his bald head but when he first comes out into the sunlight from inside, he proudly stretches out his massive wings to absorb the sunshine like he is charging his batteries! The Turkey Vulture is the fourth largest bird in North America and is a very social bird, they live in groups and roost together. They are not hunters but survive on road kill and other found carcasses.

Aquila ~ the Golden Eagle

Aquila, the Golden Eagle arrived with a broken wing that never healed properly so she could not be released back into the wild. She is beautiful and has become a special feature of the park. The Golden Eagle is mostly found in Western Canada & U.S. and prefer trees and rocky areas for their hunting. Females, who grow to be 4.5 to 6 kg, (10-14 lbs) are larger than the males 3.5 to 4 kg. (8-9 lbs).

The history of the BC Wildlife Park is very impressive and credit goes to many whose hard work and dedication kept it going through some difficult early years. Zillions of volunteer hours have been and still are a big part of that success. I recommend a visit to this wonderful park in Kamloops with its many beautiful animals, it makes a great family outing, be sure to include the Falconry show. Check the show times and learn more about the activities and animals by clicking on their site.

This is just one more reason why we love Kamloops, “there is no place like home”.

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