Animal Havens: Rehab Rescued Animals at Wildlife Sanctuaries
Admittance to a wildlife sanctuary (also known as a wildlife refuge or wildlife haven) is often the only thing that saves an injured or orphaned animal from a painful, imminent death.
Many wildlife sanctuaries operate as rehabilitation sites, providing physical therapy and critically-needed emergency and long-term medical care to wildlife in need. Although it is comforting that such animal sanctuaries exist, the reasons they are necessary are disheartening:
Some animal havens are only able to handle a dozen or so animals and are very limited in the number of new creatures they can add to their fold. These wildlife sanctuaries generally are dedicated to large animals, such as tigers, elephants, and primates, who typically spend the rest of their days in the facilities. Other wildlife refuges open their doors to thousands of orphaned, abused, or abandoned birds and/or small mammals, providing them with needed medical care and rehabilitation, and then release those that can be safely returned to the wild.
Animal havens and the dedicated individuals who run and maintain them typically operate on a shoestring; with no government funding. Most of these sanctuaries rely on volunteers like you to help them provide much-needed services — services that are needed 365 days a year and often around the clock.
I Did This!
Although it is necessary to receive special training to be a wildlife rehabilitator, you can participate in many other activities that are vital to the comfort and welfare of the wild animals in the care of an animal sanctuary. For example, you can: build habitats, feed baby animals, prepare food, clean cages, help transport animals, help with educational activities, monitor and document recovery during rehabilitation, repair and build fences, answer the phones, or assist with fundraising. Every task is important, whether it's a hands-on activity with an animal or a job that frees up an experienced rehabilitator to do his or her specialized work.
Depending on where you want to go and your interests and talents, you could, for example, contact any of the following wildlife sanctuary projects.
To help you find compatible wildlife sanctuaries from among the many around the globe, you can check out the following sites and contact the animal sanctuaries through their active links:
Whether you have a few days, a few weeks, or a few months to spend helping wildlife in need, it’s sure to be time you'll never forget. Before you go on your volunteer vacation, you might want to read up on what wildlife rehabilitation is all about. The Wildlife Rehabilitation Information Directory and the Animal Sanctuary Association can offer you some insight.
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