VICTORIA -- A Vancouver Island animal rehabilitation centre is hoping for donations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The BC SPCA Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (ARC) in Metchosin was forced to cancel its annual open house fundraiser due to the global health crisis.

The annual open house is a significant fundraiser for Wild ARC, and its cancellation has left a financial gap for the rehabilitation centre.

Meanwhile, the centre says that it is also heavily dependant on volunteers and is hoping that volunteers will come forward to help.

Training for new volunteers has been moved online to limit social contact, which is just one of many new measures put in place by the centre to protect against COVID-19.

“We are limiting the people on-site at Wild ARC to just essential staff and volunteers, so really the people who have a role to play on-site in the daily care of animals are the people who are here,” said Dr. Andrea Wallace, manager for Wild Animal Welfare.

Staff and volunteers are also practicing physical distancing, wearing masks and increasing cleaning practices.

Wild ARC is always closed to the public and remains so now.

The centre says this year was off to a slow start. But, an uptick in animals in need of care was seen in the last few days.

“We never know when the spring baby season is going to arrive, it depends on the animals,” said Wallace.

Dr. Wallace notes that one positive trend she has seen this spring is that fewer animals have been struck by vehicles as fewer people are driving.

Donations to Wild ARC can be made online here