Wildlife Rehabilitation in Florida

Why Rehabilitation?

Wildlife rehabilitation is more than just "taking care of wild critters." It includes but is not limited to examination, diagnosis, treatment, proper and nutritious diet, safe and supportive captive surroundings, physical therapy, and pre-release conditioning of injured, orphaned and diseased wildlife. Veterinary assistance is engaged whenever medical treatment is needed. The ultimate goal of these efforts is to return recovered individuals to their natural habitats to live out successful and productive wild lives.

Most of the animals received at rehabilitation centers are sick, injured or orphaned not because of natural causes, but because of accidental or intentional (and frequently preventable) mischance with humans and our manipulations of the natural environment. For the injured bird, mammal or reptile that finds its way to a rehabilitator, whether it receives a new chance at life or a rapid end to its suffering, the rehabber makes a huge difference.

The majority of the animals treated and released are of common, not endangered, species. In terms of population biology, rehabilitation work has limited significance. Skeptics may ask, "Why rehabilitate? Why not just let nature take its course?" The answer is that, while our efforts may have small importance to an entire population, for each individual animal our efforts are crucial.

The very existence of permitted, trained wildlife rehabilitators ensures that caring people throughout the community will find skilled and willing help for wild animals in distress that they may encounter in the course of their daily lives. Whether it is a warbler that flew into a window pane or opossum babies orphaned when their mother is struck by a vehicle, relief is available. Thus rehabilitators provide a valuable service to concerned individuals and local, state and national organizations desiring to return animals to the wild and to reduce negative human impacts on the environment.

Public education is becoming a larger and larger part of the role of wildlife rehabilitators. Providing factual natural history information and exposing children and adults to a responsible attitude toward all living things is fundamental in our ever more crowded world. In addition, some rehabilitators are involved with research, captive breeding programs, law writing, and habitat preservation for imperiled species.

FWRA is a growing network of wildlife rehabilitators and related professionals in the State of Florida with a mandate to share information and support for the betterment of rehab and the preservation of our natural heritage.
Florida Wildlife Rehabilitators Association
P.O. Box 411087, Melbourne, FL 32941