What is Wildlife Rehabilitation?
By Cheryl Conley
Whenever people ask what I do and I answer by saying I work with wildlife, they usually have many questions. I am going to answer the most often asked questions below.
What is wildlife rehabilitation?
The process of providing aid to injured, ill, displaced and/or orphaned wild animals in such a manner that they may survive on their own when released in their natural habitats.
Where do you get your animals?
Animals are brought to our Center by the public. We also work with wildlife removal companies, law enforcement and other rehabilitation centers.
Does it cost anything to bring an animal to your Center?
No. There is no charge for our services but we do ask for donations. We are a non-profit organization and don’t receive any state or federal funding. Caring for wildlife can involve x-rays, medications, food, caging and many other expenses. Home-based rehabilitators spend their own money to provide for the animals until they can be released. Often times it takes months.
What happens when I bring an animal in?
You will be asked to complete a form with information as to where the animal was found, what you believe to be wrong with the animal, whether or not you’ve attempted to give it water or feed it, and if you or anyone else has been bitten.
The animal will be taken from you and transferred to a Center container and then taken into our Vet Room. The animal is thoroughly examined and treated if injured. Most often the animals are dehydrated and will require fluids. Once a determination has been made as to its health, it will either go into our on-site care program or to a home-based rehabilitator for care.
When do they get released?
Only healthy animals will be released back to the wild. If the animal is an infant with no injuries, they must reach a certain size and weight before being released. If the animals have injuries, it must be completely healed and of a certain size and weight to insure its survival once released.
What kind of experience do you need to rehab wildlife?
No experience is needed but you must be committed. You can choose between our on-site care programs or home-based rehabilitation. On-site care is the easiest since you work shifts. You will be under the guidance of supervisors who will teach you proper feeding and care. Our on-site care programs run from early spring through the fall. Home-based rehabilitation requires an even bigger commitment. The animals are in your care 24/7. Some species are easier to care for than others and we would be happy to work with you on which species is best for your situation. You will also be responsible for purchasing the food for your animals but we do offer a substantial discount on specialized formulas and food. We can help you with the caging and do not charge for this.
Is there a need for home-based rehabilitators?
YES! We are always happy to find people who want to help. We provide all the training and you are assigned a mentor who is available to help you every step of the way.
Do you need on-site care rehabilitators?
YES! If you are interested, you will attend an orientation class and a training class and you’ll be ready to go. You will work a 4-hour shift and must commit to working 5 shifts during the length of the program (approximately 6 months). Most of our on-site care rehabilitators come back every year.
Our website is a great source for more information on wildlife. Our calendar will let you know when our classes are and it’s easy to sign up. Attending an orientation class does not commit you to anything. It’s simply an informational class for you to learn more so you can decide if it’s for you. Go to: www.twrcwildlifecenter.org or you can call 713-468-8972.