Why rehabilitate wildlife?
One may ask whether or not the act of wildlife rehabilitation is interfering with natural selection, or disrupting the course of nature. Statistics gleaned from over two decades of rehabilitation annual reports show that between 80 to 90 percent of all wildlife admitted for help, had become debilitated as a direct or indirect result of obstacles imposed on the natural world by humans. Some of the most common wildlife inflictions are due to collisions with vehicles and other man-made objects. Toxic reactions from insecticides, herbicides, heavy metals, petroleum based products and other chemical agents, are very common. Mutilation and disfigurement as a result of entanglement with litter and other man-made objects are occurring more frequently. Injuries sustained by attacks from free roaming domestic pets, or malicious persons are all too common. Most of all, however, our encroachment on habitat is the most serious, as it is the core problem to all of the other occurrences. The continuous destruction of habitat forces wildlife to become displaced, which results in conflict with man, as animal's search for new territories. It also increases the spread of disease because greater numbers of wild creatures are being forced into smaller habitats that are filled beyond the carrying capacity. This increases the chances of one sick animal rapidly spreading disease to a greater number of healthy animals that are crowded within a smaller territory. Nature herself, is very seldom the cause for the numbers of wildlife being cared for by wildlife rehabilitators.

(c) Messinger Woods Wildlife Care and Education Center

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