Wild at Heart Wildlife Refuge to Close Its Doors


A Wild animal rescue and sanctuary is forced to close its doors due to mounting financial pressures SaultOnline.com / ONNtv has learned.

Rod Jouppi, President, Wild at Heart issued a statement on their facebook page announcing the closure. “Wild at Heart is no longer sustainable. Our active volunteer base keeps eroding and the backbone of our volunteers –live in interns are also coming to an end since we have been informed that our building will not be able to safely house live in interns. Without adequate volunteer help, Wild at Heart is no longer able to properly care for the hundreds of animals we admit every year.. The other issue is money”

Groups from all over Northern Ontario would often drop off injured wildlife ranging from birds to raccoons, fawns, bears and bobcats just to name a few of the animals seen over the years.Wild at Heart has operated for about 40 years from Lively Ontario. It was the closest animal sanctuary  to Sault Ste. Marie.

“This situation is a very sad one for all concerned … after devoting years in order to try and develop a sustainable organization in order to help care for injured, orphaned and sick wild animals as well as providing education and awareness of the environment and wildlife, we have to now bow out.”

The Sault Ste. Marie Humane Society that doesn’t take wildlife animals would often recommend Wild at Heart to residents who may have found an injured animal.

Dr Scott Craig in the Sault does some raptor rehab but is not always available and Turtle Pond Wildlife Rescue in Val Caron which is fairly new is able to do some small mammals and birds as well as turtles.

Wild at Heart were the only refuge in this part of Ontario approved by MNRF to deal with most local species of wildlife.

Wild life rescues do not receive any form of government assistance.



  1. This is tragic. So many people have called on Wild at Heart to help with injured or orphaned wildlife. They tell us it is illegal to hold any wild animal for more than 24 hours, yet some of us do help rehab little critters regardless. Still if we have a seriously injured animal or bird where will we be able to send them now? Dr. Craig is a licensed rehabber but only for raptors. It is truly a shame that the government does not step in and help this wonderful place . So many animals are going to suffer now. it breaks my heart.

  2. Why no government funding? Wild animals should be the government’s, both federal and provincial, responsibility when they are injured and require human intervention.

  3. I am so heart broken I donated money for the moose calves and am a member. I rescued a baby blue heron and they took care of him for 3 weeks until I could release back into the wild. He is beautiful now. Saddest day of my life. If I had money I would keep you running!

Comments are closed.