- Restoration of normal /former capacities and position.
Defining the definition -
The most humane and professional way of accepting any injured, abused, diseased or orphaned indigenous wildlife and the
subsequent release of
proper healthy rehabilitated wildlife into a natural habitat that can
sustain their life in a safe and sustainable environment.
Rehabilitation of orphaned, domesticated (humanised) wildlife species
to wild status and their release into a sustainable safe natural
environment. To educate, train and change the perception and values of the public and
communities to care for and to protect our indigenous wildlife heritage.
PURPOSE OF WILDLIFE REHABILITATION CENTRES
With the decimation of natural wildlife habitat, due to development, the
ever increasing demand for consumptive use of wildlife and natural
resources, more and more wildlife become in need of help, protection,
healing and rehabilitation.
Questions can be raised as to why wild animals in need are not referred to
veterinary clinics as they are obviously best equipped to deal with most
cases. The answer is always the same; The veterinary surgeon would most
probably be in a better position to heal injured or sick animals but
does not necessarily have the knowledge or facilities to rehabilitate.
KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS
It is of utmost importance prior any attempt is made to take in or to
accept any wildlife, (irrespective of it's condition) for
rehabilitation, that the rehabilitator is equipped and qualified with all
the necessary knowledge and skills relating to the specific species.
This doesn't mean that the casualty on hand should not receive first aid
treatment or at least some comfort, prior to being referred to the
proper centre dealing with the specific species.
Dealing with injured, orphaned wildlife often allows
human emotions to run high and can result in a very negative impact on
the case - more than often resulting in death.
Rehabilitation of wildlife started in the early years of mankind when
injured, orphaned, or diseased animals, birds and reptiles
were healed and replaced in the wild by mostly farmers and individuals
on small scale with limited classified literature. Techniques and skills
were established but only recently classified. Rehabilitation during
those early years was then considered a human moral obligation and
As mentioned very little or no literature on healing or rehabilitation
techniques existed when during the 1980's wildlife rehabilitation
started on a broader and professional scale with the establishment of
wildlife rehabilitation centres in South Africa. All literature,
techniques, skills and knowledge that specifically detailed
rehabilitation of wildlife and the preparation for their release into
the wild from conservation authorities, farmers and individuals, was
synthesized to help and assist with the increasing demand for healing
Rehabilitators developed their own healing and rehabilitation protocols
and by studying the ethology of a specific species learned how to heal
and rehabilitate wildlife, that had never been given a chance of
Experience was gained with the hands on caring, monitoring and treatment
of wildlife on long and more permanent basis. This hands on experience
working with a specific wild animal species, made specialist and experts
out of established rehabilitation centres dealing with such specific
species. Equipped with all this synthesised knowledge and skills on
specific species we are now in a better position to protect and to raise
and care for any possible wildlife species that may face extinction in
ESTABLISHMENT OF REHABILITATION CENTRES
There are several scenario's for the establishment of wildlife
1. Rehabilitation of orphaned, abused or injured wildlife for
the benefit of the animals and the environment. Also to assist National
and Provincial components of Nature Conservation dealing with their
unique problems with confiscated or injured wildlife.
2. Rehabilitation of common & endangered wildlife species, maintaining
their wild status. (In most cases it involves healing only.)
3. The need for a facility to cater for a specific wildlife species
where no such other specialised centre exists.
4. When people under moral obligation for the care of animals obtain
abused, orphaned or injured wildlife and start an improper
facility (engulfed in emotion) without any rehabilitation or species
knowledge. (This scenario is always forced on to the Dept. Nature
conservation with highly emotional media coverage for the issuing of
Strangely it is these facilities that always claim that they were
unaware of the existence of established rehabilitation centres , trying
to reinvent wildlife rehabilitation protocols to the detriment of the
wildlife species in their care.
It is also these facilities that use the animals for their own vested
interest running limp and lame zoos in their back yards, playing with
public emotion for financial assistance and personal gain, claiming that
they had to give up their normal lives, social activities and house
space for the wildlife, just to appear in the media or TV.