Manitoba ranch gives visitors unique prairie experience
A Manitoba ranch is giving visitors an exotic experience.
Westwood Ranch Garden Centre located about two hours from Yorkton in Kola, Man., is home to zebras, wallaroos, emus and lemurs.
“Well I don’t think there’s many other zebras in Manitoba or Saskatchewan, there’s certainly no other lemurs around these parts,” ranch owner Mark Humphries said.
Humphries formerly owned a zoo in the United Kingdom with his wife before immigrating to Manitoba. The pair started the greenhouse and small farm about six years ago, and then started to add exotic animals in the last five years.
Over the years, the pair began to rescue surrendered pets including their Ostrich, Ozzy, as well as a variety of parrots.
“We have quite a few of the animals that have been brought in because of people either not knowing how to house them properly or wanting them to have a better environment to live in,” Humphries said.
The ranch has provided a better life for dozens of animals, but it also offers a wealth of opportunity to the staff. Three staff members have gone on to veterinary school, taking with them the learning and hands-on experience acquired from working at Westwood Ranch.
The Humphries' employ people with a range of abilities including Chance Toder, who lives with physical disabilities. He works as the lawn maintenance keeper for the ranch.
“Mark actually thought of the idea of me mowing grass and I just love helping out people,” Toder said.
Westwood Ranch Garden Centre runs spring through fall, and is open to the public, and schools, for visits.