The Cochrane Ecological Institute is situated on traditional lands. Therefore we acknowledge the traditional territories and languages of the Blackfoot (Siksika, Piikani, and Kainai), the Tsuut’ina (Sarcee), the Stoney Nakoda First Nations, the Métis Nation (Region 3), and all people whom like the CEI, make their homes in the Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta.

Why rehabilitate & RELEASE wildlife? Why is it important?

Although we are naturally inclined towards wildlife rehabilitation for the love of animals and their welfare - the existence of our native species, as well as their survival, have numerous global impacts. The 2023 Global Risks Report cites several negative projected outcomes that are directly linked to wildlife preservation. Ultimately, wildlife populations need to be maintained and enhanced. Injured and orphaned wildlife need to be successfully rescued, reared, and returned to the wild into habitats suitable to their species. Not only is the chosen habitat important, but the time in which they are released must satisfy the behavioral requirements of the species for an optimum chance post-release.


"Biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse is viewed as one of the fastest deteriorating global risks over the next decade."
Global Risks Report 2023, p. 7.

Biodiversity allows for our ecosystem and ultimately planet to adapt, thrive and prosper in the wake of change. By releasing wildlife, we are giving our ecosystems a chance to continue to support themselves and the species that depend on them. Diverse, self sufficient species are just some of the many valuable assets needed to maintain the critical equilibriums demanded of our environment. All organisms hold a key role in an ecosystem's inherent hierarchy. Research has shown time and time again that the extirpation and extinction of a species can have devastating effects on the environment.

"Without significant policy change or investment, the interplay between climate change impacts, biodiversity loss, food security and natural resource consumption will accelerate ecosystem collapse.."
Global Risks Report 2023, p. 8.

The survival and overall health of all wildlife, including the injured and orphaned have more than a sole impact on their population. One or more species loss can alter our food systems, our resource availability and land survival. Currently there are no government mandates for either the rescue or rehabilitation of injured wildlife, and no funding for non-governmental parties to do so. There is also little to no funding for post-release research. These lack of mandates and crucial policies make the successful release of wildlife difficult.

"Terrestrial and marine ecosystems are facing multiple pressure points due to their undervalued contribution to the global economy as well as overall planetary health.."
Global Risks Report 2023, p. 32.

As the risks report shows, the time to prioritize and value our wildlife, ecosystems and varying biomes is far overdue. As stated in the report "Averting tipping points requires a combination of conservation efforts, interventions to transform the food system, accelerated and nature-positive climate mitigation strategies, and changes to consumption and production patterns" (p. 34). Rescuing, rearing and rehabilitating wildlife i.e. the practice of conservation translocation, if done successfully, can enhance indigenous wildlife populations - making it a crucial conservation effort.

Executive Summary

© World Economic Forum Global Risks Perception Survey 2022-2023
for Global Risks Report 2023

With environmental issues dominating the severity list of global risks projected in the next two and ten years, wildlife conservation efforts, big and small - are fundamental. Every injured or orphaned wildlife that is rescued and released has the capacity to contribute positively to our climate crises, our precious ecosystems and biodiversity preservation. That's why the work we do here at the Cochrane Ecological Institute is vital to protecting not only species on an individual level, but for nature's integrity as a whole.

The answer to "why?" wildlife should be rehabilitated lies in the truth that the rescue, rehabilitation and release of [any species] is a conservation tool, as is the rescue, rehabilitation and release back into the wild of all native animals and plants on this Earth. Every [animal] we save and return to the wild is a small justified step towards the preservation of our wildlife. There is no doubt of the adverse impact of humanity on the landscapes of the world. . . but we can take steps toward saving and protecting what we have, both the native habitat and the wild species that belong here."

- Clio Smeeton, President of the CEI. "Hearts Ease Comes in a Box: Rescuing wildlife in the foothills of the Rockies" p. 24.
Today we face the double, interlinked emergencies of human induced climate change and the loss of biodiversity, threatening the well-being of current and future generations. Discussions so far are locked in old-world thinking and entrenched positions, with no sign of the bold action needed to achieve a nature-positive future."

- WWF (2022) Living Planet Report 2022 – Building a nature-positive society. Almond, R.E.A., Grooten, M., Juffe Bignoli, D. & Petersen, T. (Eds). WWF, Gland, Switzerland.


We love wildlife and want to see them successfully released back to their natural habitats. They fuel our conservation work and give us the drive to continue to protect the environment and all who reside within it.