It is spring and once again wildlife rehabilitation facilities are filling up with young animals being “rescued” from the wild. This is a good time to voice my complaints about these operations.
First and foremost is the fact these rescue outfits take in young deer that people pick up in the wild thinking they are abandoned. It is completely illegal to take a fawn from the wild for any reason, and for this reason it should be completely illegal for rehab facilities to take them in. Indeed, they should be required to gather information about the people who bring them fawns so Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife can track them down and give them a ticket. And, to further de-incentivize people towards taking fawns from the wild, animals received should be given to Wolf Haven for food.
Second, rescue facilities should not be allowed to rehabilitate exotic, invasive species. The main two that come to mind are starlings and opossums, which are species that compete excessively with our native fauna. Indeed, facilities should be required to put to death all non-native species brought to their shelters, not allowed to nurture them back to health for release into the wild.
Finally, I object to all the money donated to wildlife rescue facilities that could be more beneficially applied elsewhere. Most rescue outfits engage an infinitesimally small portion of any wildlife population and have absolutely no effect on the natural world. Most wildlife rehabilitation facilities primarily benefit the people who run them, not our native wildlife.