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Alberta rescue overwhelmed with 20% increase in wild animals

Click to play video: 'Edmonton wildlife rescue in need of donations' Edmonton wildlife rescue in need of donations
WATCH ABOVE: An Edmonton organization that helps injured animals says it too now needs help. Vinesh Pratap explains – Oct 27, 2017

A wild animal rescue organization that is the only one of its kind serving the area of Edmonton and northern Alberta has reached situation critical.

WILDNorth Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation is seeing a surge in animals but doesn’t have enough funds to rescue and treat them all.

“Typically, we get about 2,500 animals a year,” manager Dale Gienow said. “This year, we’re up 20 per cent. We’re due to intake over 3,000 animals in 2017, which is a huge increase for us.

“We’re a community-based organization that really depends on help from the community to bring these animals into us. But along with receiving the animals, we also need financial support for all these new animals.”

READ MORE: ‘The deer will likely recover’: Alberta wildlife officials not rushing to help injured animal 

The 20 per cent increase in animals means about $50,000 more in expenses for the non-profit organization, which runs on a shoe-string budget in the best of times.

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The group’s annual budget is $500,000; half of which is dedicated to an animal care program.

READ MORE: Calgary-area wildlife worker enjoys caring for baby skunks 

The goal is to help any animal that arrives at the facility but without public support, that may not be possible.

“So, we’re really hoping the community will come together and help us in looking after all these extra animals we’re receiving,” Gienow said.

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WILDRescue manager Dale Gienow with a Canada Goose. Vinesh Pratap, Global News
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An owl that was rescued by WILDNorth Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation. Vinesh Pratap, Global News
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WILDRescue manager Dale Gienow with an owl. Vinesh Pratap, Global News
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Every day WILDNorth Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation comes to the aid of Northern Alberta’s wildlife in need. And that need has drastically increased. Courtesy: WILDNorth
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Every day WILDNorth Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation comes to the aid of Northern Alberta’s wildlife in need. And that need has drastically increased. Courtesy: WILDNorth
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Every day WILDNorth Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation comes to the aid of Northern Alberta’s wildlife in need. And that need has drastically increased. Courtesy: WILDNorth

In Ontario, there are as many as 80 wildlife rehab centres. But in Alberta, there are eight. The province doesn’t have funding set up for these types of organizations. Before these wildlife societies existed, injured wild animals found by people were often euthanized.

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READ MORE: Wildlife rehab group disappointed most of 122 oiled birds euthanized

The rescue has already fielded more than 7,000 calls to its wildlife hotline this year, which is a massive increase over 2016.

“This has to be a community effort. I think people, if they want to have these lovely, wild neighbours and they want to live in harmony with our wildlife, they need to support these organizations. We’re the only group in Edmonton, in all of northern Alberta, the only full-scope wildlife rehabilitation centre, the only one that’s going to go out and actually address some of these issues with wildlife.”

Meanwhile, Gienow says he’ll continue working with the province, hoping for support of any kind.

The alternative is just an unthinkable last resort.

READ MORE: Future of Edmonton wildlife rehabilitation centre up in the air as donations drop 

“It’s our objective to take in these animals, do our best to rehabilitate them, get them back out into the wild and we certainly don’t want to turn people down and tell them we can’t rescue them.”

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