By Holly Duvall, Executive Director, Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation
In June 2016, a North American beaver kit was admitted into our care at the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation (AIWC). She was estimated to be between four and six weeks old and had suffered an injury to her tail.
Beavers naturally spend two to three years with their parents, so it was unusual to find such a young kit on her own. Unfortunately, we rarely get much history on the patients admitted to us, but we suspect that she may have been picked up and dropped by a predator. Due to the length of time beavers spend with their parents, we knew early on that this would mean she would remain in our care for up to two years.
In June 2017, we admitted a two-year old male beaver that was found in a storm drain in Calgary after suffering from deep bite wounds to his lower back.
After extensive supportive care, he recovered and was moved to an outdoor enclosure, next to the female beaver. One evening, staff saw both beavers interacting with each other through the fence that separated them. Over the next few days, they continued to see this behaviour, which was unusual as unrelated beavers in captivity typically do not get along well.
Through consultation with other wildlife rehabilitation centres that have experience with beavers, we made the decision to introduce the two together through a series of supervised visits. They got along swimmingly, and we decided to keep the two beavers together and release them both the following spring.
On May 18th, 2018, both beavers were returned back to the wild at the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area. We were thrilled to work with the ASCCA to find a site on the grounds for the beavers to move into. We hope this pair will continue to thrive and live a very long, healthy life together.
The beavers were only two of the many animals we care for each year. Since 1993, AIWC has been a champion for the rehabilitation of injured and orphaned wildlife. Accredited through
the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, AIWC serves the needs of Alberta’s diverse wildlife in Calgary and southern Alberta.
As a registered charity, AIWC relies on charitable donations and dedicated volunteers to support the more than 1,600 varied animals in need of care every year. AIWC welcomes Alberta’s injured, orphaned, and oiled wildlife, small and large, from hummingbirds to moose calves.
95% of animals are injured or orphaned due to human activities. The most common causes of injury are window strikes, vehicle collision, hitting power lines, barbed wire, fishing line entanglement or ingestion, domestic cat and dog attacks, and exposure to toxins. Often wildlife is orphaned by needless rescuing of babies who should have been left where they were.
To report wildlife in need, please call our wildlife hotline at 403-946-2361. To learn more about AIWC and the work we do, visit our website at: www.aiwc.ca