YWP to Reopen

YWP to Reopen

YWP to Reopen

The Yukon Wildlife Preserve re-opens to the public Monday June 1st, 2020. The Preserve closed March 23rd, 2020 for the safety and wellbeing of our animals, staff and visitors. The Preserve will be open daily from 10:30am to 5:30pm with modified services.

As a large and mostly outdoor facility, the Preserve is a place of solitude and reprieve, as well as a popular social destination. The Preserve is taking a phased approach to opening and will continue to evaluate and adapt to ensure the risks are managed appropriately. 

While onsite, we ask that visitors adhere to the guidelines at yukon.ca/covid-19 including:

  • Limiting group sizes to your immediate household (or household bubble if applicable)
  • Physical distancing of at least 2m from other visitors / households

We ask that visitors stay home if they are exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms, have travelled outside Yukon in the last 14 days, or have been in contact with anyone sick with COVID-19 in the last 14 days. 

What to expect while visiting during COVID-19

In the first phase:

  • Open daily 10:30am – 5:30pm for General Admission only (walk, bike, etc)
  • Last admission entry 4:30pm
  • Tickets and memberships available:
    • Online for pre-purchase https://yukonwildlife.ca/experience/tickets
    • On-site via card (credit/debit) only – tap is preferred.
  • Tickets, gift shop sales and pre-purchased ticket check-in will be via window-service only. The Reception Cabin / Gift Shop will remain closed for now.
    • We ask that groups send a single representative up to the cabin window to minimize crowding.
  • No regularly scheduled bus tours at this time.
  • For accessibility accommodations, please contact ahead of time.
  • As a rustic, outdoor facility, there opportunities for enhanced cleaning are inherently limited. 
    • All outhouses will be open. They will be cleaned once a day and hand sanitizer will be stocked at each outhouse.
    • Rough, porous wood surfaces including picnic tables, benches and viewing platform rails will not be cleaned/sanitized.
    • Hand-washing stations are not available at this time; however, hand sanitizer will be stocked at all outhouses and the Reception Cabin.
  • Signage to encourage physical distancing will be in place at busier locations / popular viewing spots.
  • Enhanced staff safety measures:
    • Staff are following all recommended guidelines, including:
      • Staying at home if sick
      • Physical distancing guidelines
      • Workplace cleaning/sanitation guidelines
    • Animal Care staff minimizing on-site work during open hours

Thank you for your support in implementing these guidelines! Your cooperation will ensure a successful reopening! 

We still need your support!

Our commitment to wildlife—and to you, our community—are at the heart of everything we do. Re-opening will allow us to continue our mission to connect our visitors to the natural world. It will also help mitigate the financial impacts on the long-term sustainability of the Preserve. That said, the ongoing, daily costs of caring for 200+ animal doesn’t change; so we’re not out of the woods yet. We still need your support.

Ways to Support

• • •

Leverage extra resources, services or expertice and make an in-kind contribution to the Preserve’s day-to-day operations.

Make a one-time or monthly tax-receiptable donation to education, wildlife rehabilitation, or general operations.

Turn your businesses cash or in-kind support for the Preserve into PR for your business and perks for your team.

We are forever grateful for your continued support. Together, we will overcome the challenges ahead. Our commitment to wildlife—and to you, our community—are at the heart of everything we do.

 

More on how the Preserve is Responding to COVID-19

1. Ensuring Continuity of Care

We have more than 200 animals that depend on us. As a result, we have a heightened responsibility to protect the well-being of the staff they depend on. 

The daily feeding and care of 200+ animals is no small task. We have a small but dedicated team who makes this all happen. Ensuring continuity of care is about protecting our team and developing contingency plans.

To protect our staff we are going above and beyond the recommendations on cleaning and physical distancing. This includes:

  • Compartmentalizing our primary animal care staff to minimize onsite contact and work-site overlaps;
  • Developing and continually enhancing work-site cleaning protocols;
  • Developing protocols for working with felids (due to known cases of human-felid transmission of COVID-19);
  • Developing protocols for interfacing with public when required for accepting wildlife in need of medical care and rehabilitation.

We have also put a number of contingency plans in place, including:

  • Cross-training other staff to create a secondary animal care team;
  • Developing emergency care protocols and emergency contacts for the secondary team;
  • Developing a list of trained heavy equipment operators who can move hay and pellets;
  • Close monitoring of medical and food supply chains as well as careful inventory management of key supplies and food;
  • Diligent financial planning to ensure quality of care is not compromised.
2. Staying Connected

Our team has been hard at work to bring you stories, videos and regular updates during our temporary closure. As we transition to being open again, we’ll continue to bring you stories and videos as we are able

You can support the Preserve by engaging with and re-sharing this content. Reaching a broader audience has a direct impact on the number of donations we receive – and will help us rebound when tourism gradually resumes!

Our animals need daily food and care. Those donations are still critical for off-setting the loss of visitor revenue.

3. Reduction of Services

The pandemic has forced a reduction of services across our organization. Wherever possible we are redeploying our team to continue on our mission. However, in many cases we have also had the difficult necessity of reducing our team.

With a phased re-opening, we’ll be slowly returning to our original levels of services – as is feasible.

Our educational programming has also been impacted. The suspension of schools has also meant that:

  • YWP staff did not deliver school programs at Swan Haven in April;
  • YWP staff will not deliver school programs to Yukon students at the Preserve in May and June.

We are working closely with our funding partners for these programs to redeploy these resources (as feasible) to achieve our program goals in other ways.

    4. Planning for an Uncertain Future

    It’s hard to say when we will reopen. We are now expecting to be closed through May. But we will continue to adapt as the situation evolves.

    We are now expecting to see a 55%+ decrease in expected visitation for the 2020-21 fiscal year. However, we are also planning for scenarios where we see an 80%+ decrease. This is due to two key factors:

    1. 65% of our visitation happens in the first 6 months of the year – and the first half of the year will be most impacted.
    2. Approximately 60% of our visitors are tourists (non-Yukoners). We are currently expecting severely depressed tourism to continue for 6-12 months before slowly returning towards normalcy.

    Revenue from visitation and educational programs accounts for more than $500,000 annually. As a result, we are expecting shortfalls of $200-400k.

    We are staying abreast of and participating, where we are eligible, in Territorial and Federal financial supports.

    In the meantime, your support is a critical part of ensuring the Preserve’s continued operation.

    Ways to Stay Connected

    • • •



    Get the latest at
    facebook.com/yukonwildlife



    Read original blog articles
    yukonwildlife.ca/blog



    Get the latest videos
    youtube.com



    See photos and more at
    instagram.com/yukonwildlifepreserve

    Jake Paleczny

    Jake Paleczny

    Executive Director

    Jake Paleczny is passionate about interpretation and education. He gained his interpretative expertise from a decade of work in Ontario’s provincial parks in addition to a Masters in Museum Studies from the University of Toronto. His interests also extend into the artistic realm, with a Bachelor of Music from the University of Western Ontario and extensive experience in galleries and museums.

    867-456-7313
    jake@yukonwildlife.ca

    Explore by Category

    Explore by Author

    Cute But Tough – The Arctic Fox

    Cute But Tough – The Arctic Fox

    Cute But Tough – The Arctic Fox

    6 minute read – “Winter Is Here” series continues with a species well suited to cold conditions – Arctic Fox!   

    The Arctic Fox is super cute, we all agree, but don’t be fooled by its appearance, this is one tough cookie! Often referred to by scientists as Chionophiles, meaning ‘snow lover’, it is one of only a few species that have adapted1Watch our 360 video on Arctic Fox Adaptations to thrive in the harshest of winter conditions and survive some of the lowest temperatures on earth, living year round in the Circumpolar arctic. So, how does this cute, yet tough, canid survive such an environment?

    Wearing its winter coat of white, the Arctic Fox can easily be mistaken for a small mound of snow. In fact, they are so well camouflaged, visitors to Yukon Wildlife Preserve often have a hard time recognising one when it is only a feet away from them. The thick white tail covers the dark eyes and nose allowing the animal to almost disappear against the snowy background. The tail further acts to wrap around the body or cover the face for added insulating protection, whilst thick fur on the paws provides protection from the snow and ice and increases grip on slippery surfaces. As well as the ability to camouflage itself for protection against predators, the white colour is thought to have better insulating properties, with greater air pockets than coloured hair to trap body heat.

    The depth of the fur is 200% greater in winter with a dense undercoat of 8 lbs and an estimated 20,000 hairs per cm2.  In comparison, humans have a range of approximately 124-200 hairs per cm2.

    The Arctic Fox is not always fluffy and white, though. They shed their winter fur to a sleek summer coat, and are the only member of the Fox family who sheds to a different colour, making them quite unique. Instead of a thick white fur, they spend the arctic summer a colour-blend of browns and greys – allowing them to continue camouflaging to their environment year round.

    Arctic Fox is the only fox that sheds its winter coat to a different colour, allowing them to blend in to their environment year round.

    A compact predator with small ears, a short snout, neck and legs, the Arctic Fox is much smaller than the Red Fox. This physical adaptation provides a low surface area to volume ratio which means there is less surface area from which to lose heat. This is one of the reasons that Arctic Fox will curl into a ball when resting – by reducing the exposed surface area, energy loss is less and heat retention is maximized. Front and hind legs are tucked underneath the body, exposing to the frigid air only the thickest, and warmest fur. The head is placed on the front paws, and the tail wraps around the face. Arctic Foxes are able to slow their winter basal metabolic rate to around 25% less than in the summer. These adaptations allow them to withstand brutally cold temperatures either curled up on the snow or taking shelter in an existing den under the snow pack. This also helps them to survive longer without food; important when food is scarce in the dead of arctic winter.

    Keeping the blood flowing to the extremities is clearly important to an animal who spends its winter on the snow.  The Arctic Fox has adapted its blood flow through its legs and paws for ultimate comfort and for thriving in such harsh winter conditions. This impressive heat conserving adaptation is called the countercurrent heat exchange.

    To understand how this works, let’s first look at what happens without the adaptation – in species like humans. Warm blood from the heart courses down the leg straight to the feet. If those feet are standing on icy-cold ground the warm blood will cool quickly and lots of energy will be used to keep the feet as warm as the body. This cooled blood then returns straight to the heart to be warmed, requiring more energy and resulting in an overall lower body temperature.

    Source bio.miami.edu/dana/360/360F18_9c.html

    Instead, this physiological adaptation in a species such as the Arctic Fox means that the vein and artery in the leg run very close together allowing warm blood going to the foot to heat up the cold blood returning from the foot. In a nutshell, the warm blood heats the returning colder blood that’s heading back up to the heart, and in exchange, the colder blood cools the warmer blood going to the feet. This means the feet are constantly cold, but just warm enough to keep the tissues from freezing. As a result, the overall body temperature is warmer, thanks to this neat energy-efficient system.

    Omnivorous diets, meaning that both meat and plants are consumed, help keep the Arctic Fox adaptable to changing conditions. They are carnivorous in that they will eat meat – hunting small rodents like lemmings, but also scavenging from the kill sites of larger predators like wolves and polar bears. Much like a domestic dog may eat carrots and apples, the arctic fox will tolerate and consume foods such as bird eggs2Watch the Arctic Foxes at Yukon Wildlife Preserve get an Eggy Easter treat, berries and even seaweed.

     A behavioural adaptation to thriving when remaining in a harshly cold environment is to conserve energy by not moving a lot when it is really cold. Arctic foxes will hunt and cache food during warmer temperatures, remembering where those caches are, so that they have snacks available when they really need them – without having to expend energy when temperatures drop.

    Between the highly specialized physiological and behavioural adaptations explored in this blog the Arctic Fox is well equipped. Far from being perceived as only cute and fluffy, this is actually a tough species living where few others do. The arctic tundra in winter presents a harsh, nearly inhospitable environment, but for the Arctic Fox, it’s home.

    Watch this BBC Earth video detailing the trials of a young Arctic Fox learning to hunt lemmings here!

    Abi Horobin

    Abi Horobin

    Manager Education and Programming

    Abi has led expeditions to many parts of the world and has a passion for connecting people of all ages and abilities with remote, wilderness environments and the people and the wildlife that live there. Abi moved to the Yukon from the UK having been inspired by previous canoe trips to the territory and having experienced some very special encounters with the wildlife of the north. Where else do you wake to a wolf howling 10 meters from your tent?!

    867-456-7313
    Abi@yukonwildlife.ca

    Explore by Category

    Explore by Author

    Doctor visit:  Mountain Goats!

    Doctor visit: Mountain Goats!

    Doctor visit: Mountain Goats!

    8 min read – 

    During daily rounds to check on the health of the residents, Animal Care staff notice that the eldest male goat, Geronimo, appears to have a cracked hoof. Staff veterinarian Dr. Maria Hallock is concerned he may have cracked it close to the blood supply. This leaves him open to the possibility of an infection, which is more likely with spring weather – melting snow and lots of mud.

    The wildlife residents at Yukon Wildlife Preserve are not trained. This keeps them as wild as possible, but it does make medical procedures an interesting challenge. Most medical procedures are performed under general anesthesia to minimize stress to the animal as well as to ensure safety of the staff handling the animal. While some animals are cooperative enough to receive their sedative medication via hand injection, most of them require a distance delivery of the drug via various equipment such as jabpole, blowpipe and dartgun.

    Randy, Director of Operations, uses a dartgun for distance delivery of sedative drugs to the young male, or billy, goat. 

    The team gathers… but the mountain goats are not interested in participating. So, the team gathers the following day, to try again. Geronimo is successfully sedated – but here’s the thing about mountain goat personalities – their tolerance to their peers showing vulnerability is low to none. If a rival shows weakness, the other goats will come in to finish him off with his very sharp horns. Given the situation and the close proximity of a second male, or billy, there is a great safety concern to Geronimo during his recovery period. Therefore, Dr. Maria decides to use this opportunity to sedate and trim the younger billy’s hooves, as well as clean up any winter hoof overgrowth.
    Hooves and horns are composed of keratin – the same protein as hair and nails. Just like in the wild, Rocky Mountain Goats at Yukon Wildlife Preserve will wear down their hooves by walking on the rocks in preferred cliff habitat. During winter, with snow covering the cliffs, it is more challenging for the goats to wear down their own hooves. Even so, not all the resident goats will require hoof trims, but some individuals do – things like older age, genetics and nutrition all contribute.

    Hooves and nails are both composed of the same protein, keratin.  Trimming hooves is not unlike humans trimming their fingernails, or taking their pet dog to the vet for a nail trim. 

    Dr. Maria and Randy begin trimming hooves, Julie monitors Geronimo’s health while under general anesthetic as Ensio records times and values such as heart rate. 

    Once the goats are sedated, we cover their eyes so they won’t be stimulated by light, and team members start taking and recording vital signs – heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature, to name a few. Since Geronimo is an older goat, he is also put on intranasal oxygen throughout the procedure. Dr. Maria and Randy get busy trimming the hooves, to make the procedure as quick and safe as possible, so we can wake the goats up, as soon as we can.

    The eldest billy, Geronimo, receives intranasal oxygen. During the procedure to trim his cracked hoof, his eyes are covered to avoid stimulating him.  Here, Julie monitors vital signs such as heart rate, breathing rate and temperature as Dr. Maria works to quickly trim hooves.

    We are happy to report that although Geronimo had indeed cracked his hoof, the crack did not communicate with the blood supply, so he’s at less risk of an infection from his hoof. Essentially…. he had a broken fingernail…

    Geronimo’s hoof after being trimmed.  The right toe was trimmed bluntly due to the crack in the hoof.  The left toe is the “normal” shape after trimming 

    Both billy goats are woken up from sedation at the same time – we don’t want to risk any fighting of a rival!  In order to wake the goats up, they are given injections of sedative reversals.

    Julie injects sedative reversal intramuscularly.

    The time is noted and recorded so we know when to expect Geronimo to waken.  

    Veterinary medical costs quickly add up. Even this simple, fast procedure cost $60 per goat for anesthetic drugs, antibiotics and pain control. Hidden costs include expertise, labour and supplies such as syringe and needles.  

    We also administer an injection of antibiotics which will last for 3 days, to mitigate any potential infection arising from either hoof injury or the drug injection site.  Within minutes of waking up, both goats are heading their own way, to get back to the normal routine of being Rocky Mountain Goats.

    Photo and Video Credit: L. Caskenette

    Julie Kerr

    Julie Kerr

    Visitor Services Coordinator

    Julie is a Registered Veterinary Technologist, living and working in Whitehorse since 2012. She joined the team in May 2018. She is passionate about wildlife, nature and living in a conscious manner with both. Her free time is spent outdoors observing wild animals and ecosystems; her connection to the natural world around her brings great joy – joy she loves to share with anyone interested. Honestly? Work and life blend rather seamlessly.

    Explore by Category

    Explore by Author

    Mother’s Day Tribute

    Mother’s Day Tribute

    Mother’s Day Tribute

    1.5 Min Video – 

    Whether we are human or a furry animal, we can’t do it without our Mothers! They nurture and care for us, setting us on the path to a healthy and successful life.  Join us in this tribute to mothers everywhere, of all shapes and sizes.
    Maybe you were my birth mom, maybe you’re the mom that helped me later. Anyway you slice it, you’re the best.

    Thanks Mom!

    Lindsay Caskenette & Julie Kerr

    Lindsay Caskenette & Julie Kerr

    Visitor Services Manager and Visitor Services Coordinator

    Lindsay and Julie love to share the Preserve the same way they explore life – full on and full of adventure!  They have a collective love of:  Animals....Lindsay dogs, Julie foxes; Adventure.... Lindsay dog mushing, Julie extreme camping;  both take on animal personas during story telling.  Together they support the Preserve with a strong Visitor Services presence and often, they even get work done (this happens most often when the other one is out of the office).   

    867-456-7400
     info@yukonwildlife.ca

    Explore by Category

    Explore by Author

    First Baby of Spring!

    First Baby of Spring!

    First Baby of Spring!

    1.5 Min Video – 

    Spring is for babies!  Our first baby of 2020 is a Wood Bison, born Sunday, May 3.  Executive Director, Jake, was in the right place at the right time with a spotting scope and camera to share this footage of the bison calf within its first hour of life.

    The calf is shaky on its legs as one of the young herd members comes to investigate.  That comes as some surprise, and causes Mom to step in to offer support.  Bison mothers are very protective, so generally, we want to view them from a distance.  We’ll update once we can get close enough to identify if the calf is a boy or girl.

    Jake Paleczny

    Jake Paleczny

    Executive Director

    Jake Paleczny is passionate about interpretation and education. He gained his interpretative expertise from a decade of work in Ontario’s provincial parks in addition to a Masters in Museum Studies from the University of Toronto. His interests also extend into the artistic realm, with a Bachelor of Music from the University of Western Ontario and extensive experience in galleries and museums.

    867-456-7313
    jake@yukonwildlife.ca

    Explore by Category

    Explore by Author