The goal of wildlife rehabilitation is to return a healthy animal to the wild, in both physical and mental health. Most patients admitted are injured or displaced as a result of human intervention: being hit by vehicles, being shot, being poisoned, being attacked by pets and losing familiar habitats. Wildlife often suffers when people and wildlife try to co-exist. Wildlife rehabilitators do not interfere with the natural behaviors of these animals, but we try to even the odds for individual animals that have been affected by these human conflicts.
Pets kept outdoors, or abandoned pets such as cats, pose considerable risks to wildlife. Baby animals caught by cats usually do not survive even the slightest injury because of infection. Every pet owner needs to take responsibility for their animals by feeding them inside, keeping them on a leash or in a fenced yard, and keeping their cats indoors. Until people are willing to accept this responsibility, wild animals will continue to be attacked and maimed unnecessarily.
In the state of New Jersey, and in most states, it is illegal to keep wild animals as pets or patients. Specific state and federal permits are required. Each species of animal has special needs that only licensed rehabilitators can provide.
FCW is working closely with our volunteer veterinarians, monitoring wildlife health and disease information. Many research problems are complex, requiring the participation of several individuals and organizations. Through teamwork, we will research topics including new medical devices and procedures, zoonotic diseases (diseases transmitted between animals and humans), emerging diseases (including West Nile Virus and Avian Influenza), nutritional research and food safety, bioterrorism, and natural resource conservation and diversity.
We are excited to begin development proposals for research grants to fund these projects. We welcome schools, industry and organizations to partner with us in these research endeavors. Our summer internship programs also expose students to these exciting projects.