Have your class, group or family reconnect with nature on a tour of Cochrane Ecological Institute (CEI) and Wildlife Reserve. For over 54 years we have successfully rescued, reared, and returned close to 10,000 native wildlife species back to their natural habitat. Located just 15 minutes NW of Cochrane, the CEI comprises 140 Acres of Montane habitat used in our injured and orphaned wildlife programs and our wildlife research.

The Cochrane Ecological Institute (CEI) acknowledges and deeply appreciates the Siksikaitsitapii peoples’ connection to their traditional territory. We, as people living and benefiting from Blackfoot Confederacy traditional territory, honor the traditions of people who have cared for this land since time immemorial. We recognize spiritual Blackfoot Elder (Grandfather –Aa’ wah’ staaksa – Kaahsinnnoon) Francis First Charger in the creation of the 2023 Territorial Acknowledgement Statement.

DISCLAIMER: During site tours, we will NOT show animals under current treatment. Animals present during the tour depend on both the season we are in and the time of day it is booked for. Tours will only take place within a fenced area - people fenced in and wildlife fenced out.


The CEI was founded in 1964 for the purpose of ecosystem restoration through reintroduction, public education, wildlife rescue rehabilitation with return to the wild and non-intrusive wildlife research. In 1971, the Institute initiated and implemented the successful world famous Swift fox reintroduction program in Canada and the USA. Over the length of the program (1971 – 2005) the CEI provided over 1,000 captive bred Swift fox for reintroduction back into its native habitat, developed and proved non-intrusive methods of monitoring the Swift fox (and other wild species) after release. CEI also provides accredited external supervision for undergraduate and graduate research. These include students from universities in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Iran, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, UK and the USA.

Since 1967, CEI has seen most of Alberta’s Indigenous wildlife come through its gates, including owls, hawks, falcons, waterfowl,  cranes, loons, starlings, waxwings, porcupines, foxes, badgers, moose, elk, deer, bears, bobcats, lynx and squirrels. We also have our resident bison and some long-term wildlife rescues to observe. Learn more about our award-winning programs, exciting new research projects and how we save animals that are orphaned or injured.

Other sights..

  •  A Grass labyrinth to walk through and round

  • A 20 acre educational woodland

  • Interpretive Center of straw bale construction for experiential learning programs

        Finally visit our Happy Tails Pet Retreat Dog Kennel and Cat House where long term travelers leave their pets in our care. The Pet Retreat enables CEI to be mostly self-sufficient and not rely on government funding or grants to provide for wildlife. All of our tours are funded by donation, so we thank you for your support! To donate, please let your tour guide know and we can direct you to do so online or you can pay by cash. Tax receipts are provided for eligible donations of $20.00 and over. 

Wrap up your tour with a fun animal game of ‘Oh Deer’ or ‘Owls and Crows’!

Please email us at 
biodiversity4u@gmail.com to book!