Wildlife Encounters - 9th - 12th grade
Lesson 4: Wildlife Rehabilitation
  • Key Words

Wildlife Rehabilitation

Sometimes wild animals are treated for injuries and diseases with the goal of getting them well enough for rehabilitation and return to the wild. Medical care can require that the animal be kept in captivity for several months. A broken wing of a bird takes the same amount of time to heal as a person's broken arm, and the animal has to be kept safe and confined while the bone heals.

injured bird
injured girl

If an animal has been in captivity for a long time, or is recovering from an injury, a wildlife rehabilitator (or "rehabber," for short) may step in to help prepare the animal for release. Physical therapy and re-introduction techniques are used to make sure the animal is capable of surviving on its own, hunting for food and escaping predators, before being released to its habitat. Wild animals must be in excellent condition to survive, but injury and illness can make the animal weak and stiff. Wildlife rehabilitators find ways for the animals to become strong and agile while building skills the animal will need in the wild.


Look at the pictures below. What necessary survival skill is being worked on by each animal in rehabilitation? Click to find out!

owl flying
baby squirrel
Why Rehabilitate