Wildlife Rehabilitation

One of our center’s primary activity as you can guess from our name itself is wildlife rehabilitation. Although the rescue and subsequent rehabilitation of wildlife usually go hand in hand, the term ‘rehabilitation’ is used often loosely in India. Rescuing wild animals in distress and rehabilitating them back into the wild is as different as they could possibly be. Rescue is an umbrella term – which includes anything from safe removal of uninjured wildlife like snakes from homes and offices to the rescue of wild animals that have met with accidents, are poisoned, poached or otherwise require extensive medical care and long-term care in order to be released back into their natural environment.

So, what exactly is wildlife rehabilitation? Well, generally speaking wildlife rehabilitation is the art and science of caring for sick/injured/orphaned wildlife with the ultimate goal of returning them back to their natural environment. Rehabilitation is broadly divided into 3 stages, i.e. 1) Restricted Activity, 2) Limited Activity and 3) Unlimited Activity.  Rehabilitators work alongside wildlife veterinarians in order to provide patients with professional medical care and give them the best possible chance of survival. While in captivity, each individual is cared for in a manner that best suits the needs of the species while also keeping in mind the stage of rehab required. Due to the important differences between wild animals and domestic animals, rehabilitators need extensive knowledge about the species in care, including natural history, nutritional requirements, behavioral issues and caging considerations. They also need to understand any dangers the animals may present to rehabilitators, veterinarians and other personnel. Without this critical information, rehabilitation of wild animals is almost impossible.

Wildlife rehabilitation is NOT an attempt to turn wild animals into pets. Patients are held in captivity only until they are fit to survive independently in the wild. For this, fear of humans is crucial and all efforts are made to minimize human interaction and eliminate any sort of imprinting. More often than not, this is an elaborate and time-consuming process.

Wildlife rehabilitators can also help concerned people decide whether an animal truly needs help. Young birds and mammals are raised best by their parents and should be returned to their families if at all possible. Rehabbers can assist in providing humane solutions to human-wildlife conflicts.

In Gujarat, there are no exclusive wildlife rehab shelters today. The forest department runs a couple of shelters that deal primarily with conflict animals like Lions and Leopards and seldom have the staff or the expertise to undertake rehabilitation of the hundreds of injured birds and other small mammals that come in every year.

C.R.O.W. was founded with a dream to do all this and much more. We are dedicated to providing the best possible care to urban wildlife in need in terms of rescue and rehabilitation. Although we care for a wide variety of urban wildlife, our specialization lies in rearing and rehabilitating raptors – both nocturnal and diurnal. We constantly strive to increase the standard of care provided by us and other organizations by developing and implementing new techniques and carrying out regular knowledge transfers.

Wildlife Rehabilitator’s Code of Ethics

  • A wildlife rehabilitator should strive to achieve high standards of animal care through knowledge and an understanding of the field. Continuing efforts must be made to keep informed of current rehabilitation information, methods, and regulations.
  • A wildlife rehabilitator should be responsible, conscientious, and dedicated, and should continuously work toward improving the quality of care given to wild animals undergoing rehabilitation.
  • A wildlife rehabilitator must abide by local, state, provincial and federal laws concerning wildlife, wildlife rehabilitation and associated activities.
  • A wildlife rehabilitator should establish safe work habits and conditions, abiding by current health and safety practices at all times.
  • A wildlife rehabilitator should acknowledge limitations and enlist the assistance of a veterinarian or other trained professional when appropriate.
  • A wildlife rehabilitator should respect other rehabilitators and persons in related fields, sharing skills and knowledge in the spirit of cooperation for the welfare of animals.
  • A wildlife rehabilitator should place optimum animal care above personal gain.
  • A wildlife rehabilitator should strive to provide professional and humane care in all phases of wildlife rehabilitation, respecting the wildness and maintaining the dignity of each animal in life and in death. Releasable animals should be maintained in a wild condition and released as soon as appropriate. Non–releasable animals, which are inappropriate for education, foster–parenting, or captive breeding have a right to euthanasia.
  • A wildlife rehabilitator should encourage community support and involvement through volunteer training and public education. The common goal should be to promote a responsible concern for living beings and the welfare of the environment.
  • A wildlife rehabilitator should work on the basis of sound ecological principles, incorporating appropriate conservation ethics and an attitude of stewardship.
  • A wildlife rehabilitator should conduct all business and activities in a professional manner, with honesty, integrity, compassion, and commitment, realizing that an individual’s conduct reflects on the entire field of wildlife rehabilitation.

 

[Code of Ethics Adapted from the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association]