Big increase in patients spurs Calgary-area wildlife rescue centre to appeal for donations

Big increase in patients spurs Calgary-area wildlife rescue centre to appeal for donations
WATCH: A southern Alberta centre that treats injured wildlife is appealing for help from the public. As Gil Tucker reports, this comes after a big increase in the number of animals and birds being brought in to the centre.

A wildlife centre in the Calgary area is appealing for support from the public to meet a big increase in demand.

The Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation treats injured animals and birds at its facility, a 45-minute drive northwest of Calgary. The wildlife is cared for until it is ready for release back into nature.

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The number of patients being brought in is up 25 per cent over the same period in 2018.

“We’ve already surpassed the total number we took in last year,” said Holly Lillie, AIWC executive director, on Monday. “We’ve taken in just over 1,100 animals so far this year.”

One new arrival is a moose calf brought in from the Grande Prairie area after its mother was hit by a car.

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The orphaned calf is about four months old, and will probably remain at the AIWC for at least a year.

“A lot of times, the patients that we see, they come in really horrendous condition [with] really extensive injuries,” Lillie said. “And that is obviously really hard at times.”

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Lillie said increased numbers of encounters between humans and wildlife contribute to the high numbers at the centre.

“Ninety-five per cent of the time, the animals we see are a result of human conflict: hit by cars or a dog attack,” Lillie said. “The more we encroach on their habitat, the more we’ll see an increase in encounters.”

The recently arrived moose calf joins another moose calf that came into the centre earlier this summer.

Other animals currently being cared for include a black bear cub, two fawns and several kinds of birds.

“So if people were to donate to our organization, it would go to support the cost of caring for animals,” Lillie said. “Food is a huge cost for us right now — they all have specific diets.”