Caring for Wildlife: Rehabilitation and Sanctuary Care in Robeson County, NC

UNCP Author/Contributor (non-UNCP co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Alexis Luevanos (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP )
Web Site:
Rita Hagevik

Abstract: There are more than 5,000 licensed wildlife rehabilitators as well as other wildlife caregivers at rehabilitation and sanctuary centers in the U.S. In North Carolina, there are 215 state-licensed wildlife rehabilitators with the majority located in the northwestern counties. Currently, there is no separate facility for wildlife care in Robeson County though there are currently efforts to start one. Wildlife rehabilitation and sanctuary care are important to all of us. I analyzed the encounters of veterinary professionals and wildlife rehabbers who cared for wildlife to gain insight into wildlife caregiving and its implications for human-wildlife coexistence. In this qualitative participatory action research project, 4 wildlife rehabbers called rehabbers formed one group and 2 veterinarians and 3 veterinary technicians formed another group called vets. In-depth interviews were conducted using an open-ended protocol. In addition, 2-4 hours of wildlife-human interaction observations were conducted using a modified OHAIRE tool for each participant in the study. Photographs were taken of the wildlife caregiving by the rehabbers. I kept a research journal and recorded observations during workplace visits. The data were analyzed using a qualitative software program in a sequential design with the interviews first followed by the animal observations, photographs, and the researcher notebook. It was found that all participants were dedicated to wildlife care. The following three themes were revealed: Wildlife rehabilitation and sanctuary care provided needed medical attention which was important to the caregivers, caregivers formed bonds with the animals as a result of the human-wildlife interactions, and participants believed that more could be done for wildlife who were often harmed by humans. It is recommended that the following steps be taken to make the goal of wildlife rehabilitation and sanctuary care a reality in Robeson County which includes the establishment of a physical building, funding, and volunteers. Wildlife rehabilitation in Robeson County is currently being done by a group of dedicated licensed individuals who volunteer their time and financial resources. With a more organized effort between veterinarians and the public, more could be accomplished for wildlife in Robeson County.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2023
wildlife rehabilitation, sanctuary care, rural, human-wildlife interaction

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