In 2018, The Raptor Center launched a new three-year initiative aiming to improve animal welfare in wildlife rehabilitation across all species—not just raptors. This first-of-its-kind program, called Partners for Wildlife (P4W), is being piloted in Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Alaska. P4W’s goal is to improve animal welfare in wildlife rehabilitation so that animals are rehabilitated more quickly and have greater chances of release back into the wild. P4W also aims to provide unprecedented opportunities for wildlife rehabilitators to access resources and connect with veterinarians who are skilled in wildlife medicine.
In the past year, P4W has worked directly with more than 25 different wildlife rehabilitation organizations, helping them achieve their goals for providing improved animal welfare in their facilities. For example, P4W has delivered on-the-ground mentoring to novice rehabilitators who might otherwise have to learn the ropes of rehabilitation in relative isolation. The program has also provided targeted funding opportunities for rehabilitation organizations to build or remodel animal enclosures, purchase new medical supplies, or transition from paper to computerized databases so that patient data can be shared and optimized.
P4W created an annual fellowship program in which three wildlife rehabilitators and three general practice veterinarians come together to learn, share, and network with each other via workshops, conferences, and virtual discussions, while completing projects related to promoting animal welfare. P4W’s current fellows will complete their program in September and a new cohort of fellows is currently being recruited to begin in October.
All these initiatives have kept the P4W team and their partners busy, and more partnerships and opportunities are planned for 2019 and beyond.