Published on June 29, 2021

Wildlife Rescue Training Allows City Staff to Lend a Hand

Since 1989, WILDNorth, previously known as the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton, has provided rescue, urgent and critical care services to injured and orphaned wild birds and small mammals in St. Albert. However, due to the high volume of rescues performed in the community each year and limited WILDNorth staff deployed throughout the region, the City of St. Albert recently received training for select staff to lend a helping hand to local wildlife.

In 2021, WILDNorth received a one-time grant of $10,000 from the City to help off-set operating costs. As part of this funding support, City Utilities and Environment staff also completed inaugural training and are now covered under the WILDNorth federal Migratory Bird Act and provincial Wildlife Act as authorized volunteers.

“This training brings the City into compliance with federal and provincial regulations with respect to handling, moving and rescuing of birds and wildlife,” says Melissa Logan, City of St. Albert Environmental Coordinator. “This allows us to rescue waterfowl or wildlife without the need for an emergency handling permit from the Federal Government – which can take time to receive. Timely rescues lead to higher survival rates and less chance of parental abandonment of young."

In 2020, WILDNorth fielded over 500 wildlife concerns from St. Albert residents, rescued over 30 small birds and animals, as well as treated over 150 wild animals – with the goal of returning all to their natural habitat.

Often City Utilities crews are notified of juvenile waterfowl that have become stuck inside stormwater infrastructure with no means of escape.

“In June, we received reports of ducklings that had fallen into a catch basin. Upon arrival, staff could hear, but not see, the ducklings who had travelled farther down a connecting pipe,” explains Brian Brost, City of St. Albert Utilities Manager. “Using the sound of a mother duck, one-by-one the ducklings emerged from the pipe where they could be safely retrieved and reunited with their mother who was waiting patiently nearby.

"While this story had a happy ending, no resident should ever attempt to capture wildlife from catch basins, manholes or outfalls as they are confined spaces that require specialized training and equipment to enter.”

As wildlife can be unpredictable, handling is best left to individuals and organizations who are authorized and trained to help. St. Albert residents with wildlife concerns are asked to contact WILDNorth’s Wildlife Hotline at 780-914-4118. In the event wildlife require rescue from City Utilities infrastructure, residents can call 780-459-1557 or 780-458-2020 after hours.

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Last edited: July 2, 2021