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WILDLIFE REHABILITATION PROCEDURE

The rehabilitation procedures differ between species and also  rehabilitators. However, the correct procedures should always be ethical and in the best interest of the species (casualty). Because finance often plays a major role in rehabilitation (veterinary and medicine costs increase by the day), the best option for the specific case should be applied.

RESOURCES

The establishment of wildlife rehabilitation centres should at all times be in an area similar to the habitat of the species being rehabilitated. Wildlife rehabilitation should never be attempted in any built-up areas, especially not in back yards. Prior to rehabilitation being undertaken for a specific species the correct feeding is essential, e.g. if working with a lion cub ensure that the cub is fed with lioness' milk and solid food must be a selection of food obtained from the wild. 

Never feed any of the big cat predators with cultivated meat or milk as this will eventually be the death warrant of the animal and all your work. It is only logic that once a predator is raised on cultivated food the animal will develop a taste for cultivated food. Once the animal is released into the wild it is a guaranteed fact that the animal will tend to predate on cultivated food.

Second to the above; establishing a release site is most important prior to any rehabilitation taking place. A release site will be a place where the animal can enjoy a standard of quality 'not-endangered' living. The evaluation of quality of life experienced by animals in captivity varies from person to person. Some argue that those keeping animals in captivity and feeding them regularly could in fact enhance the living quality of the species as it is not threatened by predation or other natural elements that might be detrimental to its survival. If an artificial life in captivity is worth living, then it would be helpful or beneficial to the animals to preserve their species. 

If that artificial life in captivity (constantly changing the species dynamics) is not worth living, then preserving them in captivity becomes an injury and insult to each and every specimen. There are many examples in which animals clearly display behavioural problems caused by frustration, boredom, inactivity and some other aspect of captivity in the wrong environment, e.g. deaths and injuries caused by relocated elephants, lions, leopard, wildebeest , buffalo, hippo and the list goes on and on. Whenever the human is on the receiving end of the animal's frustrated behaviour the only solution is to kill the specimen & in most cases that could have been prevented if proper planning and thought was applied.

 

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Riverside Wildlife Rehabilitation and Environmental Education Centre, P.O. Box 161, Letsitele 0885, Limpopo Province, South Africa.
Phone: +27 (0)15 3451050, E-mail: river-edu@mweb.co.za, Website: http://www.primate-sa.org