Annually, hundreds and thousands of wild birds and small mammals get injured, become sick or emaciated, or die from natural causes. Natural causes are just that, natural - dead wildlife is food for other wildlife. Some people believe that humans should not interfere and that injured animals should be left alone for nature to take its course. Others believe that, as humans are often the reason birds get injured, then we should take responsibility.
This is the belief of Tzaneen Rehabilitation Centre. Many birds will not survive, but a few given a second chance may do so. In the case of rare or uncommon species, intervention may be advantageous to the species as a whole. The decision and the ethical arguments are your own. If you are a falconer or passionate about birds of prey and other wildlife species, your judgement will be affected by that passion.
Most rehabilitators are asked by the public or wildlife officials to do this kind of rehabilitation work because of our specialist skills in handling of sick or injured wildlife. Private individuals run rehabilitation centres and hospitals all over the world. One of the most used conservation techniques is hacking, used by falconers to strengthen young birds muscles before starting training them for release. Rehabilitation techniques ensure that birds and mammals that are released can hunt for themselves and survive to breed both in reintroduction and rehabilitation projects.
Most birds or mammals, including reptiles, that we admit have injuries which can be attributed to accidental or intentional human interference. They have collided with cars, flown into windows or power lines or have otherwise been injured. They have been senselessly shot or poisoned. They have been taken from the nest and often have severe nutritional deficiencies. They arrive with injuries such as broken bones, concussions, and damage to eyes, ears, shells, claws and feathers. The patients are often depressed and in pain, yet they have an incredible will to live.
Furthermore, we strive to offer diverse educational programs promoting the conservation, natural histories and rehabilitation of wildlife. We are happy to customize the content of our presentations to the public by request.
Recent years have seen a troubling rise in the numbers of shootings of birds of prey. There are so many obstacles to a raptor simply making it to its second year that it is especially heartbreaking to take in a bird which has been purposefully shot. The same goes for various other bird and small mammal species in the Greater Letaba Area. We would like to change this through education, and it is our hope that it will help the public come to understand that, in addition to wildlifes inherent value as part of our environment, they have a role to play in the economy, as well.
Simply put, if wildlife biologists and managers hope to continue being supported by the public and its institutions, they need to educate the public about wildlife in need of help and the need to study and protect them.
NPC NPC 2019/012816/08