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Wildlife Rehabilitation Lecture 2 2. Introduction to practical and ethical issues in Wildlife Rehabilitation Contents What is rehabilitation What do wildlife rehabilitators want to achieve ? How do they know when wildlife rehabilitation is ‘successful’?

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Wildlife Rehabilitation Lecture 2

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Wildlife RehabilitationLecture 2

2. Introduction to practical and ethical issues in Wildlife Rehabilitation

British Wildlife Rehabilitation Council 2008


Contents

  • What is rehabilitation

  • What do wildlife rehabilitators want to achieve?

  • How do they know when wildlife rehabilitation is ‘successful’?

  • What can rehabilitators do to make the process as successful as possible?

  • Should every animal that is rescued be released?

  • What else can go wrong?


What is rehabilitation?

  • Give an example of the use of the word rehabilitation or ‘rehab’

    • Abusers of drugs and alcohol go into ‘rehab’ clinics to recover and learn how to cope when they return back to the ‘outside world’.

www.worldfun.nl/pic/pic5.htm


What do wildlife rehabilitators want to achieve?

  • Recovery from illness/ injury

  • Release back into the wild

  • Survival in the wild – for how long?

  • Interaction with own species?

  • Contribution to the ‘gene pool’?


How do we know when wildlife rehabilitation is ‘successful’?

  • Some would argue that we don’t! Unless…

    • Wild animals can often be marked or tagged so that they can be studied after they have been released (‘post-release monitoring’).

    • This is expensive and time consuming - wildlife charities often cannot afford it on a regular basis.

Photo courtesy of Simon Allen (Gower Bird Hospital)


What can rehabilitators do to make the process as successful as possible?

  • Return casualties to full health and fitness

  • Release into the appropriate environment e.g.:

    • Habitat type

    • Predation

    • Competition

    • Season and weather

    • ‘Man-made’ hazards


Should every animal that is rescued be released?

What if the ‘ideal’ situation cannot be achieved?

  • What are the other options?

    • Permanent captivity

    • Euthanasia

  • Which option is best for animal welfare?

  • Which option is best for resource management (and therefore other casualties) for a charity?


The released animal may:

carry an infectious disease

be more vulnerable to diseases present in a new area

be genetically different and possibly less well adapted to a new environment

displace a resident animal of the same species

The rehabilitator may:

fail to ‘provide’ the animal with the necessary physical fitness/ learned skills to survive

release the animal into an inhospitable release site

release a non-native species which may damage the ecosystem

What else can go wrong?


WHY do we rehabilitate wildlife casualties?

  • Compassion for animal suffering

  • Compensate for man-made hazards causing wildlife casualties

  • Developments in veterinary medicine

  • Species conservation (may be useful for endangered populations)

  • Research into understanding

    the biology and ecology of

    rehabilitated species

Photo courtesy of Simon Allen (Gower Bird Hospital)


Summary

  • The aims of wildlife rehabilitation may include animal welfare and species conservation

  • Success should really by measured by what happens to the casualty after it has been released

  • Rehabilitators also have to deal with animals that cannot be released

  • After all the nursing and rehabilitation, releasing animals into the wild is a complicated process!


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