Wildlife emergencies: reporting

Identifying a wildlife emergency

Wildlife emergencies can be caused by an industrial activity, natural emergency or by a wilful act. They include any uncontrolled or unexpected incidents where there is an immediate or long-term harmful effect on the life or health of wildlife, or their habitat such as:

Both a polluting or a non-polluting incident may be deemed a wildlife emergency depending on:

Responding to a wildlife emergency

A responsible party is any person or organization which might be responsible for the source or cause of an environmental and/or wildlife emergency. During an incident, responsible parties must demonstrate their ability to:

A response organization is a qualified person or organization certified and designated by the Minister of Transport to carry out emergency response activities under the Canada Shipping Act. Response organizations provide expertise and trained personnel to respond to pollution incidents on behalf of a responsible party.

Some aspects of marine pollution response are also conducted by the Canadian Coast Guard: Environmental response.

Wildlife response organizations are specialized persons or organizations that provide expertise, capabilities and trained personnel to undertake one or several aspects of wildlife response. This can include planning, implementation and reporting of activities related to wildlife emergencies. They are authorized under applicable federal, provincial, and/or territorial legislation to capture, transport, clean, rehabilitate, euthanize, and release wildlife.

During a wildlife emergency, the Canadian Wildlife Service is accountable for the management and conservation of wildlife including:

Where to report an incident

Pollution incidents include evident or suspected contamination of wildlife. Environmental emergencies, such as oil spills and other contaminants, should be reported to regional phone lines Environmental Emergency Regulations: reporting a spill or release

When pollution is not evident or suspected, to report dead migratory birds, including unknown cause of death and potential disease-related mortality: Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative

Other incidents involving migratory birds can be reported to Environment and Climate Change Canada enviroinfo@ec.gc.ca or Toll-free: 1-800-668-6767.

Where to report sick or injured wildlife

In relation to Avian Influenza, further information on sick or dead birds is available: Avian influenza in wild birds.

Wildlife rehabilitation centres may receive sick or injured animals for treatment and care: Nature Canada and other local wildlife care facilities.

To report sick or injured wildlife, contact your provincial/territorial ministry:

Northwest Territories: Reporting a wildlife emergency

Quebec: Injured, sick or dead animals

Nova Scotia: Reporting fires, poaching, emergency wildlife situations

New Brunswick: Natural Resources and Energy Development | Wildlife

Prince Edward Island: Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Action | Injured or dead wild animals

Newfoundland and Labrador: Department of Fisheries Forestry and Agriculture | Injured/Orphaned Animals

Ontario: Rescue a Sick, Injured or Abandoned Wild Animal

British Columbia: Report Sick or Dead Animals

Yukon: Government of Yukon | Injured and Orphaned Wildlife

Alberta: Human-Wildlife Conflict – Orphaned or Injured Wildlife

Manitoba: Animal Protection - Who to Call

Saskatchewan: Fish and Wildlife Diseases | Fish and Wildlife Issues

Wildlife-related permits during an emergency

If it is necessary to take (handle or posses) or harass migratory birds in order to keep birds safe during an emergency, and an exemption or variation to the prohibitions of the Migratory Birds Regulations do not apply, then a permit would be required. For migratory birds that are also listed under the Species at Risk Act (SARA), a permit under this legislation would always be required.

Under the Migratory Birds Regulations, 2022, there are specific instances where a migratory bird may be temporarily possessed without having a permit. Learn more at Frequently Asked Questions, Migratory Birds Regulations, 2022. There is a also a temporary variance to the regulations in place, which applies when conditions are met, for the hazing of migratory birds in environmental emergencies.

Wildlife response organizations are often contracted to undertake response activities involving direct interaction with wildlife. Some may retain annual permits that allow certain levels of immediate response. Qualifications to perform certain activities are assessed during the permit application process. Otherwise, they work with the Canadian Wildlife Service to obtain incident-specific permits. Other qualified individuals, may also apply for permits.

Permit requirements

Species at risk permits

Migratory bird permits

Bird banding

Related links

The Canadian Wildlife Service has developed guidance to support wildlife emergencies and disease outbreaks:

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