This article was originally published in the 2019 Summer issue of Invest In Style Magazine.


Along with an abundance of wildlife, there are also many people from across Muskoka working at wildlife sanctuaries and reserves to protect, rescue and rehabilitate the area’s vulnerable wildlife.



Spanning some 460 acres on a property just outside the village of Rosseau, Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary is one of Muskoka’s oldest and largest refuges for sick and injured animals. Started in the early 1970s, Aspen Valley operates with the simple credo: rescue – rehabilitate – release.


Aspen Valley’s primary goal is to rehabilitate animals so they can return to their natural habitat but the centre also offers information on how humans and animals can peacefully coexist with one another. That includes fielding queries and offering advice on humane solutions for problems with animals. The sanctuary has a rotating cast of animal characters in residency at any given time. That includes moose, deer, bear, wolves, beavers, otters and many others. Depending on the type of animal and the extent of their injuries, they could be at Aspen Valley for just a few hours or several months.



They also have several other residents who can never return to the wild for various reasons. Their long term guests include Lena the silver fox, Spirit the arctic fox, Jardica the lynx, Ella the moose, Furley the black bear, Monty the bobcat, Tippy the Western coyote, and several more.




The sanctuary relies heavily on donations and guests are welcome to tour the grounds by appointment only. Others in the region also work to preserve the ecosystems that local wildlife call home.


At the sprawling Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve they work towards conscientious forest management. Located on a 10,000-acre property just north of Huntsville, Limberlost is focused on ensuring the sustainability of managing their property for generations to come.


The reserve encourages guests to come and visit the property (at no charge), enjoy safe wilderness experiences and view Muskoka’s wild denizens in a natural setting. They also support environmental research programs and institutes, and offer both modern and traditional forest land use options to the local community.


There are more than a dozen trails located on the property and each is designed to offer guests a different slice of the Muskoka environment and the animals that live there. Creeks, lakes, caves and forest glades all present the chance to see Muskoka’s wild residents in a natural setting.


Just to the east, the Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary also works to rehabilitate sick and injured animals with the end goal of releasing them back into the wild.



Staffed entirely by volunteers, the 45-acre refuge was founded in 2008 by Monika Melichar. Melichar has a BSc in zoology and over 25 years of experience rehabilitating orphaned and injured wildlife. Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary works with a wide variety of animals and everything from newborns to injured adults. Volunteers take great pride in their work and treat each animal as if it were the last of its kind.

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