What is Wildlife Rehabilitation?
Wildlife rehabilitation consists of a network of individuals and organizations that care for injured, sick, and orphaned wild animals with the goal of releasing these animals back into their natural habitats. Wildlife rehabilitators have demonstrated a proficient knowledge of wildlife by passing both written and oral examinations, have met certain housing standards for species they are permitted to treat, attend continuing education classes, and work with a licensed veterinarian.
Through rehabilitation, an animal is given the benefits of proper nutrition and husbandry as well as modern medical care which includes fluid and drug therapy, diagnostics, x-rays, and surgery. For animals that cannot survive in the wild, or that are beyond the ability to recover, rehabilitation offers a painless end to their suffering.
Individuals who unlawfully possess wildlife not only endanger the health and well-being of that animal but also risk their own health, as well as the health of their family and pets. In addition to the physical injury a wild animal can inflict, wildlife carries diseases and parasites that can infect humans and domestic animals. Furthermore, animals that have been humanized pose a great threat to the people they encounter as well as to themselves.
By offering an alternative, wildlife rehabilitation is also a public service which provides the public with a humane, legal way of dealing with the wildlife in need that they encounter. The person who finds and rescues a wild animal is the first step in the process of returning an animal to its natural habitat, as well as in protecting the public health. From the moment you pick up an animal in distress, you become part of that network of individuals whose purpose is to give that animal a second chance at life.