Two wildlife organizations joining forces to improve conservation efforts in Manitoba

A new partnership was christened Friday with the release of two previously orphaned birds back into the wild.

The Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre and the Assiniboine Park Conservancy announced a partnership Friday, highlighting an understanding to have a joint commitment to advocate and take action to conserve wildlife and natural habitats in the province.

“We are two organizations that really take wildlife protection conservation to heart. We’ve got similar values and similar projects that we’re working on,” said Zoey Nakata, the executive director of the rehabilitation centre.

“There’s a lot of shared values and a lot of opportunity to work together and accomplish some pretty phenomenal things moving forward,” said Chris Enright, the senior director of zoological operations at the conservancy.

The two groups have set three goals as part of the partnership – making rehabilitative care more accessible, spreading knowledge and awareness about the importance of wildlife and conservation, and taking action on wildlife conservation.

“Now with this partnership, we really get to launch into this together and we really get to innovate on how we’re going to do that,” said Nakata.

To kick off the partnership, the organizations released two American kestrels – small falcon-like birds – that have been in the care of the rehabilitation centre.

The birds were found injured and orphaned in June in the St. Boniface area.

“They had no parents to take care of them and they were clearly struggling to survive on their own. So they were very weak, one of them had a wing injury, and they really needed that extra hand to survive.”

Nakata said the birds were given the care they were needed, while also ensuring they didn’t get used to human interactions, so that they could have a successful release back into the wild.

“We needed that nice wild setting that is close enough to where they were found and then still their natural habitat. So we thought that Assiniboine Park was the perfect setting for that.”

The park will also now be home to a new public drop-off for sick and injured animals so they can receive temporary care before being transferred to the rehabilitation centre.