Environment | Animal Wellfare, Conservation
Community Connections | Children And Youth

Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation

We are committed to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of injured and orphaned wildlife. We provide expert advice and education that fosters an appreciation of wildlife.

Our Story

Why We Exist

In August 2019, Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation (AIWC) received a call about an orphaned moose calf north of Grand Prairie after her mother had been killed after being hit by a car. After several other plans had fallen through, we knew we were the last hope for this calf to be rehabilitated and returned to the wild.

1,211 kilometers of driving is what it took to get this moose calf to our wildlife hospital Northwest of Calgary. She is thriving in care with another moose calf, also a female, and the two will spend the winter at our facility before being released in the spring. With your generous support, we can continue to share success stories like this.

95% of the animals admitted to AIWC are as a result of conflict with humans in some way, such as window strikes, vehicular collisions, and domestic cat and dog attacks. With urban expansion, the demand for our services will continue to rise.

It wasn’t just our Wildlife Rehabilitation Program that saw an increase in demand, so did our Wildlife Hotline. This service provides information to members of the public, addressing their wildlife questions or concerns. We’ve received over 5,100 calls to our hotline this year, which is 1,500 more than in 2018!

Through our Wildlife Education Program, we are working to create strong co-existence between Albertans and wildlife. By providing education about nature and environmental awareness, we are informing Albertans of how their actions impact the environment and to think on a larger, provincial scale.

Our Impact

What We Do

Since 1993, the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation (AIWC) has been a champion for the rehabilitation of injured and orphaned wildlife. Accredited through the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, AIWC serves the needs of Alberta’s diverse wildlife in Calgary and southern Alberta. As a registered charity, AIWC relies on charitable donations and dedicated volunteers to support the more than 1,000 varied animals in need of care every year. AIWC welcomes Alberta’s injured, orphaned, and oiled wildlife, small and large, from hummingbirds to moose calves.

Our Vision
Preserving the legacy of wildlife.

Our Mission
AIWC is committed to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of injured and orphaned wildlife. We provide expert advice and education that fosters an appreciation of wildlife.

Once animals arrive at AIWC they are fully examined to determine the extent of their injuries. Further testing is often required, such as blood and/or fecal sampling, and radiograph diagnostics. With the completion of our surgical suite in 2009, patients are no longer transported to an off-site clinic for procedures which greatly reduces their stress levels.

At the clinic, our team provide treatment and supportive care to the wildlife patients. Each patient’s diet varies, being as close as possible to its natural diet. In the case of orphaned animals, they must be taught to forage or hunt for their own food as they develop.

As an animal progresses, gaining strength, and injuries healing, he/she will be moved into larger enclosures and finally be moved into an outdoor enclosure. When housed outside, the animal can properly prepare for release back into the wild by conditioning his/her body and acclimatizing to the weather. Once an animal is strong enough, volunteers often get the opportunity to release the animal back into his/her natural habitat. When possible and where safe to do so, we release the animal back to where he/she was found. If not possible, an appropriate habitat will be chosen to provide each animal with the greatest chance of survival. 

Our Programs

How We Do It

Wildlife Rehabilitation and Rescue: 
Our wildlife hospital, once a church in Didsbury, Alberta, is now a clinic with a surgical suite, laboratory, x-ray room, and various care units. Outdoor enclosures support the rehabilitative cycle and include two large flight-conditioning spaces for raptors, five songbird enclosures, a pasture and corral for young deer and moose, a shorebird enclosure, aquatic bird building, outdoor aquatic mammal enclosure, two outdoor waterfowl enclosures, two aerial insectivore enclosures, and four mammal enclosures.

Primarily, animals are rescued by our team of trained volunteers or by members of the public and then admitted to our centre. AIWC is an accredited vet hospital through the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA) and upon arrival animals are left to rest for a short time and then are fully examined my members of staff.

All wildlife rehabilitation is performed on site at our 9.69-acre property NW of Airdrie. We are permitted through the provincial and federal governments to intake and care for wildlife. Wildlife rehabilitation is a relatively new field of animal care, becoming more prominent in the past 20-30 years. As such, we are constantly striving to improve protocols and methods of rehabilitation. Staff attend workshops, conferences, and collaborate with other wildlife rehabilitation centres across the world in order to ensure we are providing the best care possible to the animals entrusted into our care.

Wildlife Education Program:

We have a shared responsibility to wildlife.
For as long as there have been people, there have been dangers to our wildlife. Each Albertan, young and old, plays an important role in the proactive understanding and reactive care of our wildlife. Each one of us has a responsibility to do something to support our wildlife population.

We will continue to advocate for the health of our wildlife.
Our primary mandate will always be to provide support and readiness to injured, orphaned or oiled wildlife animals. We believe in a community approach to taking the best care possible to animals that live and play in the same places we do.

We believe every Albertan should be a stakeholder in the care of wellbeing of our wildlife animals.
To ensure future generations of Albertans can enjoy our wildlife landscape, we encourage Albertans to:

  • Appreciate and co-exist with nature and wildlife
  • Be mindful of their surroundings and foster safe spaces for wildlife to graze, breed and thrive
  • Encourage interconnectedness with nature
  • Understand the issue affecting Alberta’s conservation initiatives

Caring isn’t enough. We must take action.
Every animal is deserving of the beauty Alberta has to offer, and this includes a safe, open environment free of human hazards. And we, as Albertans, have a responsibility to foster these opportunities through awareness and participation in conservation-minded conversation and actions. Our wildlife should be a continued source of pride for all Albertans.

We believe in developing awareness through education.
Through outreach programming, we’re working to creating strong co-existence between Albertans and wildlife animals. In 2018, our education team provided wildlife education to more than 4,300 members of the public.

We want children to build a strong relationship with nature.
Our actions impact the environment and its wildlife. We encourage children to respect the environment around them by inspiring a passion for conservation and sustainability. We know that children and youth who develop an early understanding of their relationship with nature and wildlife become life-long advocates for wildlife, champions for the care, protection and health of wild animals.

We are advocates for encouraging environmental stewardship in the next generation.
By educating children about nature and environmental awareness, we are informing Albertans of how their actions impact the environment and to think on a larger, provincial scale.

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

Our Requests

What You Can Do

Give the Gift of Christmas Giving: Visit our end of year fundraiser page for more info on how you can support wildlife in need.

Each year the demand for our services grows, and as a non-profit organization we rely solely on our own fundraising to provide care for the over 1,000 wild animals admitted each year. There are many different ways you can support AIWC and help us care for our wildlife patients:

12 ways you can support our efforts:

Every dollar counts, and we truly appreciate the support from the communities we serve. Thank you for enabling us to continue providing care for wild animals in need.

Volunteer:  AIWC depends on an army of dedicated and passionate volunteers to assist the staff members with the operation of our wildlife hospital. Volunteering is a truly rewarding experience, and even tasks such as floor-mopping are more enjoyable when you know you’re helping wildlife and are surrounded by such magnificent creatures.

Help is needed in various roles and at various times of year. Spring and summer are our “peak” seasons, however, we rely heavily on 100+ active volunteers year round to keep our centre operating. Visit AIWC: Volunteer for more information on volunteering at our centre.

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Contact

Holly Lillie - Executive Director

Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation

403.946.2361

Charitable Number: 140416140RR0001

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