You are here

Helping Injured or Orphaned Wildlife

Wildlife cannot be kept as pets. There are many organizations you can turn to when you come across an animal in distress. Veterinary practices can provide temporary veterinary care until injured wildlife can be transferred to a Wildlife Rehabilitation facility.

The Government of Alberta has clear direction to involve a Wildlife Rehabilitation facility when considering how to help injured or orphaned wildlife.

Orphaned Wildlife

It is important to leave alone any young animals, such as fawns, hares, goslings, and others, that appear to be without their mothers. In many cases, wildlife mothers will temporarily leave their young to find food, and these young animals are not in danger. In fact, some species have developed mechanisms to ensure the survival of their young in the absence of their mothers. For instance, fawns have spots that serve as camouflage and emit little to no odor, which helps them remain undetected by predators. If you are worried that a particular animal may be orphaned, it is advisable to observe it from a distance for at least 24 hours. If the mother has not returned by that time, contact the nearest Wildlife Rehabilitation facility or Fish and Wildlife office for guidance on how to proceed in a manner that is safe for both you and the animal.

Injured Wildlife

A wild animal that has been injured often has a better chance of survival when it is left alone out in nature. Animals will already be stressed from their injuries and having human intervention could cause further stress. Stressed animals in the wild are known to become aggressive and cause injury to you and further injury to themselves.

There are organizations located across the province that are equipped and prepared to help.  

All migratory birds are protected by federal legislation (Migratory Birds Conventions Act) and regulated by Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS). This Act strictly regulates who can possess and transport any migratory bird. Native wildlife (non-migratory birds, birds of prey and mammals) are protected by provincial legislation (Wildlife Act & regulations) by Alberta Environment & Protected Areas (AEPA) and regulated by conservation officers under Alberta Justice & Solicitor General.

If you come across a wild animal in distress, contact your veterinarian to find out if they will admit wildlife for medical care. There are also a number of wildlife rehabilitation facilities in Alberta you can contact for assistance. Look below to find an organization or wildlife resource near you:

Northern Alberta

WildNorth Northern Alberta Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation
Edmonton, AB

Alberta Society for Injured Birds of Prey
Sherwood Park, AB

Central Alberta

Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation
Madden, AB

Cochrane Ecological Institute
Cochrane, AB

Medicine River Wildlife Centre
Spruceview, AB

Southern Alberta

Alberta Birds of Prey Foundation
Coaldale, AB

Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society
Calgary, AB

Calgary Zoo
Calgary, AB

Additional Resources

Alberta Fish and Game Association

Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative

National Wildlife Centre

National organization with excellent resources on their website as well as telephone numbers for many provincial contacts.