Animal rehab centre in Madden facing a crisis
A financial crisis could force the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation (AIWC) to close its doors as early as next month.
The centre, which is located near Madden has been performing rehabilitation of infant, orphaned and injured animals in the region since 1993, and has seen a dramatic drop in donations this year, threatening its longevity.
“If we don’t get the funding we need, the reality is that we will be closing,” said AIWC Executive Director Diana Segboer. “The way things are looking, we will be closed by the middle of June.”
Segboer said specialized food and medications needed for the roughly 2,000 sick and injured fawns, ducklings, goslings, hawks, eagles, water foul, songbirds, porcupines, muskrats, beavers, foxes and other animals are the highest expenses for the organization. Most of the animals have been injured during attacks by other creatures or negative human interactions such as car collisions, she said.
“Our food formulas and medications are very specialized and geared toward individual species,” said Segboer, who joined the organization last September. “These are certain formulas that they need in order to survive and they can be quite expensive.”
Another costly and frequent procedure at the centre is chelation therapy, used to treat animals with lead, arsenic or mercury poisoning to remove metals from the body.
“Depending on what comes in to us, the medications and therapy that come with it can be very expensive,” said Segboer. “Sadly, our donation base is weaker this year than we had hoped, making our funds lower than our expenses. Donations across non-profits in general seem to be down quite a bit this year, we just seem to be a little harder hit than others.”
Some animals that are currently being treated at the AIWC include goslings, fledgling House Finches, a female Red-winged Blackbird, two Snowy Owls with broken wings, a Tundra Swan that injured itself when it flew into a power line near Chestermere, a porcupine that was attacked by a dog at Nose Hill Park in Calgary, a beaver and a songbird that was injured by a cat. The AIWC is hoping to celebrate its 20th anniversary next year, but won’t be able to if it doesn’t get the $60,000 to $80,000 it requires for the summer season, when it sees a peak in activity.
“Summer is our busiest time of year. That’s when you see the baby and orphaned animals, and that’s also when they tend to get injured the most,” she said.
“In the fall, our costs go down a lot because everything migrates, the babies are grown and can take care of themselves better and things calm down a lot.”
Segboer noted that at present, the centre is entirely dependant on donor contributions, and while they have received roughly $8,000 in donations in the past couple weeks, they are still looking for “the big donor.”
“We have applied for a number of grants but have been turned down on every one. The problem with a lot of grants is they’re very project-based and they don’t support operational funds, which is what most non-profits need,” she said. “We’ll keep going at it and hopefully be successful, but grants do not have a quick turnaround – they take time and we need help now.”
Anyone who is interested in donating or would like more information on the AIWC is encouraged to call 403-946-2361.