Is wildlife rehabilitation a good idea?

This is very important for diseases such as rabies or West Nile virus that wildlife can infect people. Helping an injured animal is always good, as is helping an injured human, but it must be done wisely and for the benefit of the non-human animal. If you don't feed them, other staff members at Fox Valley Wildlife Center in Elburn, Illinois, take turns helping hungry orphans. On social media, critics hit the WRC and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, which had been involved in decision-making.

Unfortunately, for wildlife rehabilitation centers, the threat of COVID-19 has meant reducing volunteers and limiting the number of staff who can be present at the same time. Working in animal care at Red Creek Wildlife Center requires bending, kneeling, and carrying buckets of water up to 30 pounds. Wildlife rehabilitators in big cities are not seeing the same increase in calls as their more suburban or rural counterparts. When downtown resident birds, possums, squirrels and other wild animals are not being fed, cleaned or cared for, Craig, Fox Valley's director of animal care, finds himself trying to respond to the seemingly incessant stream of calls from concerned citizens who have encountered a hapless animal and they don't know what to do about it.

Erica Miller, an independent wildlife veterinarian who spent 20 years at Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, a nonprofit conservation organization in Newark, Delaware, recalls releasing birds she had cleaned after an oil spill. Oregon has banned the rescue of animals that do not belong there, in order to protect the state's native wildlife. Craig points out that many of the calls Fox Valley receives are from people who don't understand normal wildlife behavior and that means more education opportunities. Some of the first rigorous attempts to assess the value of wildlife rehabilitation came after the oil tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground off the coast of Alaska in March 1989, spilling 11 million gallons of oil in a pristine marine environment.

These animals cannot be stored and the rehabilitator on duty can make the decision to slaughter the animal. Many lifelong friendships have been formed by working together to save wildlife and he becomes part of the “Red Creek Family”. Thanks to them, many people will return to work or to classrooms better informed about the wildlife that exists around them. The ship sailed to the Farallón Islands, a wildlife refuge off the coast of San Francisco and, with great fanfare, threw the animals off the ship.

In cases of rapid response to emergencies, such as oil spills, there may not be time to order the correct size labels for the particular animals that are most affected, something that no one can predict beforehand, adds Christine Fiorello, wildlife veterinarian and ecologist at Oiled Wildlife Care Network at the Davis School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California.