Our Impact

The Wilder Institute is restoring the balance between wildlife and human life, together. We achieve real-world impact through our team’s dedication to research-based conservation approaches, by engaging local people and collaborating with organizations large and small, and thanks to the generosity of people who want to make the world a wilder place, together.

Return of species to the wild

The Vancouver Island marmot is one of the world’s most endangered mammals, reduced to only about 30 wild individuals by 2003. The Wilder Institute has been involved in Vancouver Island marmot conservation efforts since 1998 and is one of three facilities breeding marmots for release in the wild. We work together with the Marmot Recovery Foundation to release marmots born at the Wilder Institute on Vancouver Island. Over 500 captive-bred marmots have been released in the wild and thanks to our combined efforts, the wild Vancouver Island marmot population has grown to over 200.

Protecting at-risk populations

Classified as Vulnerable globally, it is estimated that there are between 120-150 hippos remaining in the West African country of Ghana. The Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary takes a holistic approach to hippo conservation by linking protected area management, species conservation, and community development. The Wilder Institute has supported the hippo sanctuary since its inception in 1998. We partner with the Wechiau Sanctuary Management Board and the Centre for African Wetlands to protect and monitor hippos and their habitat while improving livelihoods for the 20 communities in the sanctuary.

The community conservation initiatives we collaborate on uniquely position the Wilder Institute to achieve wildlife conservation in harmony with local communities. We strive to work with communities to develop initiatives that provide direct economic benefits to local people through conservation action. This approach ensures the long-term protection and management of at-risk animals and habitats.

 

Influencing policy

We work with our collaborators in government to recommend policies that will protect wildlife and wild places for current and future generations. As one example, the Wilder Institute advised the UK government in developing and refining the English Code for Reintroductions and Other Conservation Translocations. This policy will ensure that all groups are applying the latest scientifically-validated approaches to any conservation translocations they undertake, significantly amplifying their success.

 


Advancing the science of conservation biology

The Wilder Institute is a science-based conservation organization. Our Community Conservation Specialists and Population Ecologists conduct research as part of every program or initiative we lead, co-lead or collaborate on. This approach ensures that our conservation action plans are always guided by scientific decision-making and follow best practices in the field. It also allows us to share the outcomes of this research with the global scientific community. Our scientists work with diverse stakeholders to weave established, scientific best practices with new insights and local and traditional ecological knowledge, so as to create innovative conservation approaches. Continuous data collection and analysis then ensure that approaches can be evaluated for success and adjusted for improvement. Our team shares their learnings via peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals, presenting at international conferences, and speaking with local community leaders.

Research conducted by the Wilder Institute serves to either inform conservation actions for specific species or more broadly advance conservation practice. A species-specific outcome, for example, is learning how to increase the breeding success of greater sage-grouse. An example of advances and insights of broader scope includes investigating how inbreeding depression in extinct-in-the-wild species affects fitness traits and thus population viability — having significant relevance on conservation decision-making for such species.

Training conservation practitioners

The Wilder Institute is expanding its impact by training the conservation practitioners of today and tomorrow. We train people in how to manage conservation areas and collect data to inform future decision-making. We provide both in-person and online training via workshops and courses to students and professionals working in careers in conservation biology. We also educate policy-makers in governments and organizations to increase the use of science-informed decision-making around land and resource uses.

Accelerating our impact through collaborations

None of these impacts can be achieved by working in isolation. The Wilder Institute works in collaboration with stakeholders such as landowners, local peoples, First Nations, researchers, other conservation NGOs, and with multiple levels of government within Canada and around the globe. We do this to bring together all the requisite knowledge bases and resources to scientifically develop, test and implement effective solutions for species-at-risk.

The sihek is a wonderfully colourful bird species in the kingfisher family, native to the island nation of Guam. But 30 years ago, an invasive predatory snake nearly wiped them out, reducing this cultural symbol to “Extinct in the Wild” status. Only a handful of birds were saved and brought into captive breeding populations. Today, working closely with the Guam Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources, the Zoological Society of London, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Wilder Institute is embarking on an ambitious initiative to reestablish wild breeding populations of sihek, and eventually to return them to Guam.

Your support goes a long way for wildlife

infographic showing summary of wins from 2021

Be part of the Wilder Institute’s impact

Support wildlife conservation today

Together, we can help bring species back from the brink and make the world a wilder place. Join our global movement of action-takers inspired to restore balance between wildlife and human life. Consider donating to wildlife conservation to secure a flourishing future for all living things.

Donate