#GlobalNews: “Thousands attend Hope for Wildlife open house in Seaforth, N.S.”


As soon as the gates opened at noon on Sunday, thousands of people piled into Hope for Wildlife for their annual open house.

The animal rehab centre has been helping injured and orphaned wildlife for over two decades.

The open house is an opportunity for the organization to collect some much-needed donations to fund their operations, and for the public to learn about the important work that volunteers do.

READ: Mounties help deliver baby fawn after striking deer in Nova Scotia

“We basically want to work ourselves way out of a job here at Hope for Wildlife. We don’t want any patients, we don’t want any human-animal conflicts but it’s going to take a while to accomplish that,” said Hope Swinimer, founder of Hope for Wildlife.

“I think the more withdrawn humans become from their natural world, the less they care, and so to reconnect them, to replace fear with understanding — and education is really what we’re all about.”

WATCH: Hope for Wildlife caring for influx of orphaned babies

People waited for hours for the opportunity to meet Hope and get a photo with her. Her show, Hope for Wildlife, reaches millions around the world.

Joshua Head had a simple reason for deciding to surprise Hope with flowers at the open house. “For saving the wildlife,” the nine-year-old said.

On average, more than 20,000 people attend the open house annually, some coming from around the Maritimes, and even across the country.

“We watch the show all the time. We tape it so we can make sure we get to see them all, and our daughter really wanted to come so we thought we’d travel,” said Rhonda Leavitt, who came to Seaforth from Saint John, N.B., with her family.

“I really wanted to see the baby seals and baby deer,” added her daughter Kayla Leavitt.

WATCH: Seeing a bobcat is rare, getting glamour shots is an even bigger treat

Christina Baldino and her family drove 16 hours so they could get to Nova Scotia from their hometown in Ontario, and meet Hope in person.

“Our whole trip — we based it around visiting Hope,” said Baldino.

“We just love her. We’ve been watching the show for years now, and just animal lovers, and we love everything that she does to help the animals.”

READ MORE: Hope for Wildlife works to rebuild following storm

Although the open house is an opportunity for the public to see animals they wouldn’t typically get the chance to, education is also a key component.

This year, an emphasis was put on the need for people to learn about domestic animals before getting them as a pet — and to avoid abandoning any animal outside.

“You almost have to know the energy level and the personality of the animal before you get in,” said Elizabeth Algeyre, a volunteer with Hope for Wildlife for the last 10 years.

“A lot of people want to let their animals go outside, which of course, here in Nova Scotia, really it’s a death sentence for the animal. And happy owner, happy pet. We really encourage the education — it’s good for both sides.”

For more information about Hope for Wildlife you can visit their website.

PHOTOS: Take a look at some of the photos Global videographer Cory McGraw took of the animals that were at the Hope for Wildlife open house. 

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Note: “Previously Published on: 27 August 2017 | 6:39 pm, as ‘Thousands attend Hope for Wildlife open house in Seaforth, N.S.’ on GLOBALNEWS CANADA. Here is a source link for the Article’s Image(s) and Content”.

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