WVI’s Raptor Rehabilitation programme is aimed at making sure the highest possible number of injured and poisoned birds not only survive treatment but can be successfully reintroduced to the wild, in order to stem dramatic drops in population numbers. When species numbers are low, every individual counts.
WVI has worked in India for a number of years, training local vets and providing essential first aid for the thousands of raptors injured by kite strings every year during the annual Kite-Flying Festival in the Gujarati city of Ahmadabad. Thanks to the growth in our experience and reputation in this area, we are now expanding our raptor rehabilitation work to help Endangered species in South Africa and Bulgaria.
Raptors, or birds of prey, are persecuted throughout the world, both directly (mainly through hunting and poisoning of carcasses) and indirectly (through contact with kite strings, wind turbines, power cables and the drug diclofenac).
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For some species of vulture, numbers are so low that every individual counts. That means it’s vital to make every effort to save injured birds.
WVI believes that effective training of local staff and volunteers on the ground is essential in order to increase the survival rate of injured or poisoned birds of prey, and to ensure that they are sufficiently fit when they are released back into the wild. We provide training in pre- and post-surgical treatment of birds, as well as in the surgical techniques themselves.
This means, for example, helping develop appropriate Standard Operating Procedures which ensure that sub-cutaneous fluids are given when the (often severely dehydrated) birds, are first handled, or that birds are correctly tube fed following surgery.
Practical Clinical Help
When WVI vets are on the ground they are always ready to use their practical expertise to operate on and treat current casualties, demonstrating techniques to local professionals in the process. With raptors, this frequently means demonstrating the advanced treatment of fractures of both wings and limbs.
Although our raptor rehabilitation work is currently focused on first aid for trauma victims and appropriate clinical intervention, WVI considers disease investigation vital to increasing understanding of how population numbers can be recovered and safeguarded. Our vets are always on the look out for any signs of disease and ready to implement surveillance should it become necessary.
Information and Advice
WVI believes on-going research is essential in order to further increase survival rates. In India, for example, vet nurse intern, Kiana McAbe, has been carrying out research into whether a simple initial blood test can be used to indicate a bird’s chances of survival in the short term. These results have the potential to determine which birds should receive the most intensive care in order to have the best chance of recovery and are expected to inform ongoing training of local staff in 2018.