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In a perfect world, there would be no need for wildlife rehabilitation centres; in reality, unfortunately, 95% of the patients admitted to us at Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation (AIWC) are as a result of conflict with humans in some way, such as window strikes, vehicular collisions, and domestic cat and dog attacks.

One of AIWC’s focuses this year was to put more resources into preventing healthy, uninjured wildlife from needlessly coming into our care. This included investing more into our Wildlife Hotline program so we could better aid the public with their wildlife concerns and questions. In just three summer months, June to August, we received 2,147 calls! Annually, we answer over 5,000 calls about wildlife.

By investing in our Wildlife Hotline, we are able to provide better and faster assistance to the public. In spring and summer, for example, we receive hundreds of calls regarding baby wildlife. A common call is regarding baby hares; they are often thought to be orphaned, when they are truly perfectly safe and healthy in their natural surroundings, left alone throughout the day by their mother on purpose, so she doesn’t attract predators to their location. Encouraging members of the public to leave healthy baby hares where they find them ensures they do not end up in our care and remain in the best place for them: in the wild, with their natural parents.

So far in 2018, we have been able to reduce our patient intakes, in large part due to this investment in public outreach and education. By informing callers about the natural behaviours of wildlife, healthy wildlife is left to thrive in the wild where they belong and our resources are maximized for those patients who are truly in need.

Even with a slight reduction in patient intakes, over 1,000 individual injured and orphaned wild animals have still been admitted to our wildlife hospital this year. The cost to rehabilitate an individual animal varies greatly depending on their age, species, and injury, and ranges from $100.00 to well over $1,000.00 per patient.

Each year, AIWC’s goal is to live out our mission in the best way possible, working hard to improve the standards of wildlife rehabilitation, provide industry-leading patient care, and educate Albertans about the wildlife species we share our environment with.

To operate our facility, located northwest of Calgary, it costs an average of $43,000.00 per month. This includes the food and medical costs for our patients, but also everything from our small, but skilled staff, enclosure and property maintenance, and utilities.

Examples of costs at AIWC:

Milk Replacer: $1,711.00
This will be used to feed injured and orphaned baby mammals, ranging from fox kits, to striped skunks, and will last approximately 1-year.
25,000 Mealworms: $250.00
Mealworms contribute to a well-balanced diet for many of the patients entrusted into our care. 25,000 will last us approximately 3-weeks in the winter, and less than a week in our peak season of summer.
The Care of 1 Merlin for 1 month: $300.00
Recently, we featured a merlin that was admitted into our care after suffering from severe feather damage as a result of a methane flare. To read more about his case, visit our Facebook page. This bird will be in our care for almost a year to recover.
Phone Bill for 1 month: $102.99
Each year, we take over 5,000 wildlife related calls to our Wildlife Hotline. This is a free service offered to all Albertans, and often further afield.
Utility Bill for 1 month: $480.00
Help us keep the lights on and our wildlife hospital warm for patients in need!

This holiday season, please consider including AIWC as part of your Christmas giving. We need your support to ensure that Alberta’s wildlife have a place to go when in need today, and for many more years to come.

All donations made to AIWC from November 30th to December 31st, no matter the source (cheque, cash, online), will count towards our fundraising goal of $60,000.00 in donations throughout the month.

Tax receipts will be issued for all donations of $15.00 or more. If you make a donation online at, your tax receipt will automatically be emailed to you. For donations made off-line, your tax receipt will be mailed to you within 3 weeks.

It all comes down to this:

We don’t own the earth. We are the earth’s caretakers. We take care of it and all the things on it. And when we’re done with it, it should be left better than we found it.” ― Katherine Hannigan, author.

Happy Holidays and thank you for your support!