PAWS Magazine

Issue 66, Spring 2007

Walk on the Wild Side: PAWS Wildlife Center

outpatient clinic, emergency room, surgical specialty center, and long-term rehabilitation facility | resource center providing humane solutions for peaceful co-existence with wildlife | compassionate, life-saving care provided 365 days a year

About half of the 8,000 animals we care for each year at PAWS are wild animals, those who don't find comfort on a lap or a couch, but prefer the wide open spaces of the Northwest's natural landscape. The team's main goals at PAWS Wildlife Center are to use sound biological principles to assist sick, injured and orphaned wild animals; treat their diseases, injuries and illnesses; and return them to their natural homes with the best possible chance of survival. But there's far more to our wildlife programs than that.

Did you know PAWS…

  • has cared for more than 97,000 wild animals since we began wildlife rehabilitation in 1981? Most of our patients—65 percent of them—are birds of varying species, from owls and herons, to chickadees and ducks.
  • operates a wildlife hospital including a surgical suite, laboratory, an X-ray machine, and a treatment/ isolation and post-operative ward for recovering patients? We also partner with board-certified veterinary ophthalmologists, orthopedic surgeons and even human health experts to achieve successful rehabilitation of wild patients in need.
  • holds Washington State and federal permits to provide rehabilitation for wildlife? In order to be licensed to provide rehabilitative care, PAWS has met many stringent requirements, such as specialized training, participation in mentorship programs, facility inspections, and written exams.
  • has the expertise and facilities to provide rehabilitative care for more than 200 different species of wildlife, including large predators such as Black Bears, Cougars and Bobcats, as well as songbirds, small mammals, seabirds and endangered species? We also work with NOAA Fisheries Service and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to rehabilitate injured and orphaned Harbor Seals and River Otters.
  • offers training in wildlife medicine, rehabilitation and surgery to fourth year veterinary students from around the globe? Students come from across the U. S., and from countries including Canada, Japan, Chile and the United Kingdom, to learn from PAWS' expert veterinarians and staff. We offer similar programs for veterinary technician students and future wildlife rehabilitators, as well.
  • responds to more than 7,000 phone calls and hundreds of e-mails each year, offering humane and practical solutions for conflicts with wildlife? With human development increasingly encroaching on wild habitat, encounters with wild animals also increase. Our goal is educate people on how to peacefully co-exist with our wild neighbors for the future health of wild populations.
  • is the only permanent wildlife rehabilitation facility in Washington State designated to rehabilitate seabirds suffering from the consequences of an oil spill? Since 1981, PAWS has assisted in the recovery and rehabilitation of wildlife in nearly all of the oil spills that have occurred in our state.
  • partners with local, state and federal government agencies, as well as private landowners, to release rehabilitated animals in habitats that will help ensure their future survival? Animals are returned as closely as possible to the place where they were found, in order to maintain their species' genetic population, accommodate their specific habitat needs, and prevent disease transmission. In addition, PAWS works with many private and government organizations to conduct post-release studies to measure our release success.
  • provides consultation and training services worldwide concerning veterinary medicine, wildlife rehabilitation, wildlife rescue, enclosure construction and enrichment, and development and management of wildlife rehabilitation facilities? PAWS supports increasing the number of professional and licensed rehabilitators in Washington State, and gladly provides guidance for veterinarians and other organizations who wish to pursue this goal. In facilitating exchange of best practices and ideas, PAWS played a leadership role in creating a statewide network—the Washington Wildlife Rehabilitation Association—and helped organize the association's first annual conference in 2003.
  • participates in statewide groups to monitor the possible impact of zoonotic diseases (those that can potentially be transferred between animals and humans)? Such groups have included the Interagency Avian Influenza Task Force for Washington State and the Northwest Region Marine Mammal Brucella Working Group.

For more information about PAWS Wildlife Center, including how to help an injured wild animal or to solve a human-wildlife conflict, call 425.787.2500 x817. The team is happy to help!


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