This summer is an unforgettable time for the staff at North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre on Vancouver Island, Canada as they have the chance to host a really special guest: a juvenile bird that has been dubbed the “sacred white raven”. The little critter was found on the ground in the Oceanside area in May and was brought to the center by a kind citizen.
It’s such a pity that the poor raven was in really bad shape back then. It was malnourished, injured, and unsurprisingly unable to fly.
According to one of its direct caregivers – animal care technician Derek Downes, this bird isn’t a true albino. It has a little melanin so it’s a leucistic raven instead.
However, the lack of melanin still seriously affects leucistic birds’ health, especially their immune systems. They normally don’t last long in the wild.
“They’re an extremely rare mutation, well-documented in this part of the world, specifically the (Parksville Qualicum Beach) area, which is why they have been dubbed the sacred white raven,” Downes said. “They typically don’t do very well. They have compromised immune systems, so we’re really, really trying very hard with this one. We’ve learned in the past of what we can do to help it and we’re hoping with this one we’re going to have some success.”
Image source: North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre
According to Downes, his team is currently force-feeding the bird since it refuses to feed on its own. They give it plenty of antibiotics as well as needed supplements and vitamins in hope of boosting its immune system, helping the sick bird to thrive.
It’s also the first time Downes takes care of a raven and he personally thinks of this experience as “a really magical thing”. Thankfully, the lucky bird is recovering quite well under the care of Downes and his coworkers.
“The raven is progressing quite well,” he said. “It has finished its second course of antibiotics and responded fantastic to them. All the infections have cleared up at this time.”
It’s a slow process, but they still hope the white raven will be strong enough to come back to its natural habitat soon.
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