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Wildlife Ambassador & Instructor Touch You to Know Animals Better
When dogs and cats at home are sick or injured, we send them to vet clinics. But what should we do if we find an owl that can¡¦t fly after its fall from the tree?
The Endemic Species Research Institute, located in Chichi Township, Nantou County, has established First Aid for Wild Animals to rescue sick or injured wild animals. After treatment, the animals will be released back into their natural habitat.
500 Wild Animals Rescued Each Year
If you walk into First Aid for Wild Animals now, you will see the veterinarian is taking care of a collared owlet, the smallest owl in Taiwan. This baby collared owlet is less than ten centimeters long. It was sent here after it fell from its nest and was picked up by some kind people. Chan Feng-Tse, the veterinarian, said ¡§More than 500 wild animals are sent to the Endemic Species Research Institute each year. The number may exceed 600 this year.¡¨
The purpose of First Aid for Wild Animals is to provide emergency care to wild animals that are hurt or injured so that they can go back to nature. With the rising concerns in conservation, the number of rescued wild animals has been on the rise. Therefore, the staff in First Aid for Wild Animals is getting busier.
The veterinarian is taking care of a collared owlet.
The surgery of First Aid for Wild Animals (TESRI)
Do you know what the major cause is for the injury of the wild animals sent to First Aid for Wild Animals? Chan said that injuries are mainly caused directly or indirectly by humans. He explained, ¡§Nearly half of the injured animals coming here are hit by cars, run into electricity wires, or are affected by construction. Some are hurt falling from bird nests, gunshots, and animal traps.¡¨
Chan shows a slide of a crested serpent eagle after its broken bone was supported with a splint after an operation. ¡§This crested serpent eagle was sent in while it was a baby bird about five or six years ago. However, it was sent back again because it was shot. It fell and suffered a bone fracture. Kind people found it and sent it back to First Aid for Wild Animals.¡¨
Chan said that emergency care and release of an animal back into the wild costs time, money, and effort. ¡§The food to feed a crested serpent eagle costs NT$20-30 a day. It takes about 180 to 200 days to treat a crested serpent eagle with a broken bone and release it back into the wilderness¡¨.
In order to ensure that the recovered animals can go back to nature, First Aid for Wild Animals has a large training cage. All the birds going back to the wild have to relearn how to fly. They are only released into the habitat after they have fully healed and can fly well. Crested serpent eagles, Hodgson's hawk eagles, grass owls, collared scoops owls, Besra sparrow hawks and bats are all waiting here to flap their wings again in the wild.
A Formosan Pangolin Tells You How He Got Hurt
Healed birds are trained for flying in preparations for the release.
Currently, First Aid for Wild Animals is open to the public for guided tours so that they can understand how wildlife is rescued and get to know these animals. Some of the injured animals that cannot be released will serve as ¡§Ambassadors¡¨ to assist the medical staff in the guided tours so that they can educate the public.
A Formosan pangolin who lost a leg in a gin trap is the ambassador at First Aid for Wild Animals. Formosan pangolins are very gentle animals. They live in low-to-medium altitudes and feed mainly on ants. However, they are considered a delicacy in mountain cuisine restaurants or are sold for their hides overseas. In the early days, a large number of Formosan pangolins were hunted and killed. Fortunately, the rising concern over conservation in Taiwan has encouraged many people to help them when they discover injured Formosan pangolins or realize that some were about to be killed for food. This gives Formosan pangolins a chance to receive medical care and to go back to the wild.
The instructors tell the story of the Formosan pangolin so that everybody knows how it came to First Aid for Wild Animals. After it was hurt in the gin trap, it took three weeks for the wound to heal! First Aid for Wild Animals also shows the gin trap that took its leg so that the visitors can understand how painful it was!
Chan said that in the past, people ate wildlife from the mountains and from under the sea for protein intake. However, there is absolutely no reason to do so now. Gun shooting or gin trapping causes great pain or even death to animals. The guided tours at First Aid for Wild Animals enable children and adults to understand that they can take care of wildlife in many ways.
Reservations are required for those who are interested in visiting First Aid for Wild Animals. Only one group visit is allowed per week to avoid disruptions to the hours of animals.
- Another Home for Animal Angels
- Amended List of Protected Wildlife
- Guided Tour to First Aid for Wild Animals, the Endemic Species Research Institute