Why We Exist
Matthew Flegault, it would appear, is one well organized 10-year old – he’s clicking on to photographs he knows so well they’re almost memorized. Matthew has adopted one young eagle (an asked-for Christmas present) injured faraway in the Northwest Territories when very young. It’s part of services offered by WestJet transporting injured wildlife to the Madden facilities of the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation (AIWC). He refers to another image of a big-eyed downy fluffed sort of bird with enormous yellow feet that eagles apparently grow into. The whole history, he tells me, is on their Facebook page…
Matthew’s family subscribe to their monthly newspaper – and where he first read about helping by adopting an animal. He and his family have fundraised, collecting bottles. He wants to volunteer, although that’ll be a few years yet until he’s well into his teens (because of liability issues that face many such facilities these days).
His older sister Ariane busks summertime at Bearspaw Farmers Market; the money goes towards buying towels and similar, useful items – all three siblings collect branches that will be used in rehab cages for natural perch settings.
Listening to them as they wander in and out, Matthew chatting away, makes reporter Pam Asheton wonder how typical, representative of young people these days these three are – they’ve even noticed a housing development up the road has made local foxes move out, before exclaiming about a real experience with a barn owl. That Matthew values that adoption certificate, will remember his Christmas present, is just so obvious.
Source: Pam Asheton (Feb 13, 2015): Cochrane Times: LIFE – Youth working to save wildlife.
Alberta is home to some of the most majestic and iconic animals associated with North America. Animals native to Alberta include the bald eagle, the beaver, the big horn sheep, the bison, the blue jay, the Canada Goose, the lynx, the caribou, the cougar, the flying squirrel, the great blue heron, the grizzly bear, the monarch butterfly, the moose, the common loon, the peregrine falcon, the porcupine, the pronghorn, the red fox, the great horned and snowy owl, the striped skunk, the white-tailed deer and the gray wolf, just to name a few.
We believe in cultivating strong co-existence between Albertans and wildlife animals. 95% of animals are injured or orphaned due to human activities. The most common causes of injury are window strikes, vehicle collision, hitting power lines, barbed wire, fishing line entanglement or ingestion, domestic cat and dog attacks, and exposure to toxins. Often wildlife is orphaned by needless rescuing of babies who should have been left where they were.
Each year, the demand for our services increases. In 2016, AIWC:
- Treated 1,889 wild animals and helped hundreds more by assisting members of the public with wildlife-related issues, educating Albertans about natural wildlife behaviours and how best to live alongside our wildlife; and
- Answered more than 5,000 wildlife related calls, providing assistance and information to support the wellbeing, and, in some cases, the survival of animals.