Working in Wildlife Rehabilitation – THE BASICS

If you are interested in working within wildlife rehabilitation, this section will help you learn some of the basics.

First of all, it is important to understand that the aim of wildlife rehabilitation is to return wild animals to the wild. Some people may find this difficult or emotional but if you remember this from the very beginning you won’t get attached to the animals you care for in the way you do with a pet, instead you will be so happy and excited when it comes to release day as you know the animal is going back where it should be and, thanks to you and your team, has another chance at life in the wild.

Top tips when working in wildlife rehabilitation:

  • Stay calm. This work can be challenging as well as physically and emotionally demanding.
  • Remember that each animal has unique needs that are determined by the species, situation, personality and energy levels.
  • Be prepared for long hours and be flexible as there tends to be little routine and you are often “on call” 24/7 (this can be to deal with emergencies, help the intensive care cases or go out on rescues)
  • Education is an important part of wildlife rehabilitation. Be prepared to engage with the public and help people understand how to help animals in need and the significance of keeping wild animals in the wild.
Baby zebra “helping” to weigh and prepare milk powder for the day ahead

“I want to work within wildlife rehabilitation, what do I need to know?”

Working with wildlife in this way requires:

  • Medical knowledge (understand the anatomy and physiology of the species you work with, know how to carry out health checks and develop or follow treatment plans)
  • Understand environmental needs (ensure the environment meets the needs of the animal and always monitor the environment for potential issues)
  • Understand the nutrition and diet requirements for the species you work with
  • Understand safe handling and care practices
  • Understand health and safety (it is extremely important to maintain a clean environment to avoid the spread of disease. Make sure you keep up to date with protocols and ensure you can clearly communicate health and safety issues to the community).

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