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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

Wildlife RehabilitationLecture 2

2. Introduction to practical and ethical issues in Wildlife Rehabilitation

British Wildlife Rehabilitation Council 2008

contents
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
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
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
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
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
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?
what else can go wrong
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
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
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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