Thursday, June 2, 2011

SPL Shelf Life [adult]

This review appeared in the Stratford Gazette on June 2, 2011
Written by Robyn Godfrey, Librarian 

Hope for Wildlife: True Stories of Animal Rescue By Ray MacLeod

The call of nature is strong for many Canadians, and when nature leaps up out of nowhere it can be a magical, thrilling experience. That is not always the case for the animals involved, however – as humans encroach ever more steadily into natural habitats, close encounters of the animal kind become more frequent and often more deadly.  Thank heavens for those Canadians who take responsibility for rescuing wild animals that have had violent encounters with not just humans but other animals. Two fine examples are the Erie Wildlife Rescue centre in Windsor, and the Salthaven Wildlife Rehabilitation centre near London.  Not so near is the Hope for Wildlife Society in Seaforth, Nova Scotia, who published this book about some of their successes – and alas, some near successes – in order to raise awareness of not just the animals they have rescued but the ongoing efforts of such centres to educate people on how to live in harmony with their animal, avian or reptilian neighbours. The Hope for Wildlife Society began its life as the Eastern Shore Wildlife Rehabilitation and Rescue Centre, due to the superhuman efforts of one woman, Hope Swinimer, who earned the 2008 Roland Michener Award from the Canadian Wildlife Federation. Her society has helped car-crushed turtles and broken-winged bald eagles heal and return to the wild, but their stories are not at all magnanimous or self-important portraits of human goodness. The stories instead contain a great deal of humility about the lessons learned in handling animals - always fierce and instinctual no matter how playful the sometimes seem – and handling humans, such as government officials who spend far too much time arguing and not enough time doing. There are fantastic photographs of the critters who have spent time in rehab, such as Gretel the cantankerous pine martin; Kramer, the blind, finger-painting raccoon; and Clifford, the bob-cat that some well-meaning cat-lover mistook for an abandoned kitten. The book is written in a conversational style, a very fast read, and very inspirational for anyone who loves animals.  

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