News / Edmonton

Edmonton Wildlife rehab sees increase in injured animals

The Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton treated 2,168 animals in 2015, an 18% increase from 2014.

An injured snowy owl at the Wildlife Rehab Centre.

Metro File

An injured snowy owl at the Wildlife Rehab Centre.

It’s shaping up to be a busy year for the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton—they’ve already had 33 patients so far this year, up from 23 in all of January last year.

Education coordinator Carly Stenhouse says it’s part of a larger trend—their wildlife hospital admitted 2,168 injured wild animals last year. That’s 18 per cent more than 2014, and 42 per cent more than 2013.

“People are hearing more about us and they know that we’re an option for these animals and also that Edmonton is expanding so there are some more places for them to get injured,” Stenhouse says.

Many of the animals they see are hurt through contact with humans—their five staff members are currently treating a couple of birds found trapped in a new house being built, while others were attacked by pets or flew into windows.

Phone calls to the center are also up—last year centre staff answered about 5,500 calls. Stenhouse says people call the hotline to ask about bringing in injured animals, but also about things like seeing songbirds out of season or problem racoons. 

“Anything wildlife we’ll give advice about, so we get a lot of phone calls, but it’s a great way to reach people,” she says.

A non-profit that runs on donations, Stenhouse says that like many in Alberta they’ve been impacted by the downturn, though so far they’ve been able to treat all the animals that come their way. 

Stays at the animal hospital range from a couple of days of cage rest to more intensive treatment. One great horned owl carted to the centre by a good Samaritan last week will need several weeks to heal a broken wing.   

“He’s definitely not a fan of people, he’s always clucking his beak and hissing,” Stenhouse says, but notes it’ll make it easier when he’s released back into the wild.

“The animal lover in you wants to be friends, but you know that its better for them to be wary, so the more they hate you, the better.”

More on