A young skunk greets visitors at Critter Care's annual open house, held July 16 and 17. A Salt Spring Island woman has launched an online campaign with a goal of raising money to help Critter Care expand its south Langley facility.

Fundraiser aims to help Critter Care help animals

Deborah Barnes has started an online campaign to help south Langley facility raise money to pay for a new enclosure

On the heels of last weekend’s open house at Critter Care rehabilitation centre, another big campaign for Langley’s wildlife rescue society is going on virtually around the world.

Salt Spring resident Deborah Barnes may not live in Langley but she has big dreams for the injured and orphaned wildlife that temporarily reside here.

Barnes, who discovered the good work of the animal welfare society last year, wants to “shine big light and love on a gentle organization called Critter Care” and crowd fund for the Langley-based B.C. wildlife rehabilitation centre.

“They have given us over 30 years of service. They have cared for and returned to the wild over 30,000 of our injured and orphaned animals,” writes Barnes on the fundraising page.

Three weeks ago, Barnes started the online fundraising campaign at fundrazr.com/CritterCare and has raised more than $7,000 toward her goal of $50,000, to help cover the cost of a new animal enclosure.

More than 100 people from around the world have contributed to the cause so far. She regularly posts video updates on her fundraising page as well as videos of the animals living at the centre. She recognizes it is a big goal but she is determined to reach it.

“Years of hard use has taken its toll on their enclosures. They have also started to run out of room because of a dramatic increase in admissions,” said Barnes.

In fact, last year Critter Care took in 32 bear cubs and eventually had to turn some away, after running out of room to take care of them. All but two have been released back into the wild in carefully select locations throughout the remote parts of B.C.

This year, they are overrun with fawns and coyotes. They are in need of a new enclosure, said founder Gail Martin.  She’s grateful for Barnes’ efforts.

Barnes comes from a family well known here in B.C. She is the sister to Vancouver parks board commissioner Constance Barnes, and daughter of CFL star and politician Emery Barnes who was an advocate for the underprivileged and first black speaker of the House of Commons.

She made her way to Salt Spring where she is now an animal photographer.

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