The Northern Lights Wildlife Society was started in 1989 by two trainer animal keepers Angelika and Peter Langen who immigrated to Canada from Germany where they had worked in zoos.
The Langens, who was living in Smithers, became aware that there was no place for injured or orphaned wildlife in their area and they begun the Northern Lights Wildlife Society in 1989 to help animals in need.
At first the shelter was used very reluctantly by the authorities.
Shelter started by two former zoo keepers
But as first success became apparent and as the public became aware of the shelter’s existence, the demands on the shelter grew rapidly. With the Langen’s covering most of the costs and almost all of the work involved, the shelter soon reached dimensions that required a new approach in order to secure adequate housing and care for the animals in need.
As a result the Northern Lights Wildlife Society was formed in 2001 and in 2002 the Society became a registered charity. The shelter has now entered a new era. The board is actively looking for sponsors and volunteers to ensure the shelter’s ability to care for all wildlife that is brought to our attention.
Specialized in rehabilitating moose, bear and deer
Though all mammals and birds are accepted, we generally forward birds to other shelters as they have longstanding experience and excellent facilities. Over the years, due to space availability, NLWS has become a specialist in bear, moose and deer rehabilitation. The moose and deer raised at the shelter and released into the nearby park have done extremely well and have proven the success of the program, by producing and raising young in the wild year after year.
According to the society, careful management of the society focuses on preventing the animals from becoming too human oriented, as that would prove to be a hazard to their own health (i.e. hunting season), as well as to the safety of humans ( i.e. hikers )
This year, the society is rehabilitating a record number of 25 cubs, double the usual intake and it’s appeal for donated apples and money towards a new bear enclosure led to apples galore.
Check out the video of the happy bears.