COVID Reponse

by | Apr 24, 2020 | News | 0 comments

The Yukon Wildlife Preserve remains temporarily closed.

But our team is hard at work providing top quality food and care to our 200+ animals. Without visitors to offset our ongoing costs of the daily care and feeding of these animals, your support is more critical now than ever before. 

As a non-profit charity we’re on a mission to connect our visitors to the natural world by being a living centre of Yukon’s species. The important nature of our work—even in the face of this pandemic—remains unchanged. Your tax-deductible donation makes it possible to continue this important work. 

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.

Here’s more on how we’re responding and adapting to this crisis:

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

We may not be able to host you out at the Preserve, but that doesn’t change the important nature of our mission! A skeleton team is hard at work to bring you stories, videos and regular updates.

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 critical for off-setting the loss of visitor revenue.

Ways to Stay Connected

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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.

The Preserve remains closed to the public. At this time all public-interfacing visitor services have essentially ceased, including tours, commercial film & photography, facility rentals, etc. A core team is hard at work on digital content so we can stay connected with our communities.

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.

    A few things we don’t know yet:

    • What level of wildlife rehabilitation services we will be able to provide. We are currently working with our partners to determine how our wildlife rehabilitation services will operate through the busy spring and summer period.
    • To what degree Nature Camps will operate. We now have indications (as of 2020-04-22) from the Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health that guidance on summer camp operations in the Yukon is forthcoming. We will defer changes or decisions regarding our Nature Camps until after this guidance is available.

    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 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.

    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.


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