These tips should help those wanting to embark into the world of animal rehabilitation perform their best to save animals.
1. Get the Right Certifications
Working in wildlife rescue requires some veterinary knowledge. Aspiring rehabilitators can obtain permits and licenses after completing observation and volunteer work, though this varies across states and countries. Training will warrant you the necessary skills for these areas of expertise:
- Providing diagnoses
- Knowing how to capture animals
- Administering recovery plans, like physical therapy or medication
- Performing examinations
The types of injuries could vary from wildfires to vehicle collisions. The number of causes for wildlife rescue means learning how to react appropriately to each unique case while considering each animal’s anatomy and habitat.
2. Prioritize Rewilding
Wildlife rescuers should always prioritize rewilding, or putting animals back in their natural habitats when it makes the most sense during their healing journey. Question if the climate is appropriate or what condition the region is in before rewilding. The area animals must be released to should no longer be toxic or polluted if this is what led to the need for rehabilitation in the first place.
Rehabilitators can assist with the transition, especially if the animal has had a long recovery. Start by conditioning them on how to acclimate to their environment organically through short periods of exposure. Rescues should seek to revive natural habitats to a state that reflects a time before human influence.
3. Prepare for Spring
Spring will be one of the busiest times of the year because that’s when most animal babies come into the world. Wildlife rescues should consider staffing appropriately to handle the volume.
It also helps to implement additional features on-site. If people come in with newborns that need to be cleaned, a pet wash area could allow patrons to get hands-on with the remediation experience. You could also offer internships or programs during these months to have extra help while providing value to the community.
4. Create Rescue Habitats
Running a wildlife rescue is more than a full-time job, especially if you’re managing a team. However, if time and resources allow, wildlife rescues could allocate resources to prevent rehabilitation cases from coming through the door. These efforts could manifest in several ways.
The first is through education. People know the animals they rescue need care, but they should determine if their efforts are helpful. Not all wildlife that appears in distress should be disturbed or handled without professional experience. Educating the public could prove beneficial in normalizing animal care and protection by knowing how habitats function.
Rescues could also perform environmental remediation efforts like trash cleanups or work with other industry professionals, such as toxicologists or recycling managers, to see what areas are most damaged by waste or harmful substances. Small actions like litter management could prevent small animals from getting their heads stuck in jars or swallowing sharp plastic.
5. Cope With Stressors
Wildlife rescue can make emotions stretch to their limits. The beginning of a wildlife rehabilitation program might involve long or inconsistent hours with no wages, as most start beginners on a volunteer basis. The job could involve sporadic calls in the middle of the night because concerned citizens discovered animals in distress.
Fatigue could stress the body and emotional exhaustion could compound things. Resilience is a requirement in wildlife rescue because emotions from each extreme can happen multiple times daily. There’s euphoria when a rehabilitation effort is booming and that animal happily and safely returns to its natural habitat.
Adversely, some rescuers don’t even name their residents for fear of becoming attached if their efforts don’t work. Seeing sick or dying animals would take its toll on anyone, manifesting as grief, and everyone in the industry should understand the cycle of life before thinking the job will only contain tears of joy.
Creating a Haven for Animals
Starting a wildlife rescue could be one of the most triumphant and emotional experiences of a lifetime. Rehabilitation prioritizes animal and habitat health, further exploring ways humans can better engage with environmentalism. It’s an integral part of keeping biodiversity thriving, and no matter the size of the outfit, every individual working to heal animals is helping the planet.
See more posts from Jane Marsh at environment.co
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