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Jessi discusses if any of the animals at Animal Wonders are released into the wild. Thank you to our Patreon patrons for suggesting and voting on this topic!

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Hey.  Welcome back to Animal Wonders.  We love that we're able to rescue and care for so many animals and I love being able to share what the animals are doing and educate about their natural history and their care.  We've had quite a few comments asking if we'll be releasing any of our animals into the wild, so I'd like to talk about that and clear up any confusion that some of you might have.


Animal Wonders is an educational outreach organization.  Our mission is to provide lifelong care for animals that cannot survive in the wild.  That means that we do not focus on taking in animals to rehabilitate and release into their native habitat.  Rehabilitation centers are animal facilities whose mission it is to care for injured wildlife with the intent of releasing them back into the wild. 

When an animal that was born in the wild is hurt, sick, or abandoned and needs help from a human to survive, they enter into captivity and there are three possible outcomes from there.  One: they don't survive, despite the best efforts of the human caretakers.  Two: they survive, heal up, and are able to be released back into the wild.  And three: they survive, but are unable to return to the wild due to being permanently disabled, being too young to learn natural survival skills, or another specific reason that they won't do well on their own.

Here's an example.  Rook the raven was found in the wild with a broken wing.  She was sent to a rehabilitation center in the hopes that they would be able to fix her wing and get her back to her home in the forest.  It's truly incredible to experience the release of a fully healed, healthy animal rehabilitated and reunited with their native habitat.  I'm so grateful to our rehab friends who work endlessly at all hours to save lives and keep wildlife wild.  Unfortunately, Rook was not able to be fully rehabilitated.  Her fragile bones had already calcified by the time she made it to the rehab center and they could not be reset.  She is unable to fly and this prevents her from being able to be returned to the wild. 

Once it was determined that she was non-releasable, the rehab center needed to find a licensed facility to house and care for her in captivity.  This is the point when Animal Wonders or another animal facility would step in and help a non-releasable wild born animal.  They are placed in a licensed and experienced home and cared for for the rest of their life.  

In order to determine if an animal is releasable or non-releasable, they need to be evaluated by several professionals.  A veterinarian can give an animal a physical exam to address any medical issues that animal might have, like Rook's wing, and a biologist, zoologist, ethologist, or other animal expert can assess any behavioral reasons that might prevent the animal from surviving in the wild.  An example of this might be an orphaned animal that's social by nature and would need to learn survival skills from their own species.  If they're raised by humans, they'll lack those skills as an adult so they cannot be released.  

If an animal that is not physically or mentally able to survive on their own is released into the wild, they will most likely face prolonged suffering and an inhumane death.  Please don't take this lightly.  Surviving in the wild is challenging, which is why there are so many amazing adaptations to help animals stay alive.  If they don't have a good chance of survival, they should not be released.  

Non-releasable animals have two options: being humanely euthanized or being cared for in captivity for the duration of their life.  Many animal facilities, including zoos and aquariums, are willing and able to take in and care for non-releasable animals.  Most of the animals Animal Wonders takes in have been born in captivity.   This means they most likely don't have the skills to be able to find food, establish a territory, and avoid predators and human habitation.  A large amount of the animals we care for were pets that had been discarded or surrendered by their previous owners.  We also have some animals that were born in zoos, conservation breeding facilities, and fur farms, so they come from lots of different places.

Occasionally, we've rescued an animal that was born in the wild and for specific reasons, they cannot survive on their own.  Every one of the animals at Animal Wonders cannot be released into the wild.  Our goal is to be the safety net, catching only those that need us while letting rehab centers catch the rest.  

I'd love to see Rook the raven stretch out her wings and soar through the skies, but she can't, so the next best thing is to have a safe home, good food to eat, and the only challenge in life is to not get bored.  

I hope that shed some light on why some animals are released into the wild and some are not.  Thanks for joining us on this adventure.  If you would like to go on an adventure with us every week, subscribe to our YouTube channel AnimalWondersMontana and if you'd like to buy some really fun toys for Rook the raven, check out our Amazon wishlist, link is below, thanks guys.