Wildlife - RSPCA
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- 1. RSPCAAll About Animals- Wildlife
2. The RSPCAs concern about wild animals is based on how they are treatedand whether human activity causes unnecessary suffering - rather thanhow many of a species there are.This means our perspective is animal welfare rather than conservation ofendangered species. Welfare and conservation often overlap though. Forexample, trapping may cause suffering but if it is indiscriminate it couldalso affect rare species. 3. Broadly speaking, animals in their natural state that have not beendomesticated are considered wild.For our purposes, this includes non-domestic animals in captivity,whether kept as pets or for other reasons including entertainment,and those living free in the environment. We cover a huge number ofspecies and individual animals ranging from badgers in your gardento birds nesting on sea cliffs to pet iguanas and zoo elephants! 4. As you might expect, its a huge challenge totry to improve the welfare of such a largenumber of animals and species! We work inmany different ways to encourage change,using scientific information and practicalevidence to support our arguments.Heres a little look at some of the work we do: Raise awareness of wild animal welfare issues and provide information and advice. Work with, and try to influence, those who make important policy decisions aboutwild animal welfare. 5. Rescue and rehabilitate abandoned and injured wild animals at our wildlife centres andconduct research to constantly improve our level of care. Develop and update detailed RSPCA protocols for the best possible rehabilitationpractices of all species cared for. Teach trainee inspectors wildlife-related aspects of work, including identification,legislation and handling. Develop free educational resources about wild animal welfare, aiming to help teachersand students examine and debate subjects. Support research into relevant welfare issues such as the control of moles or deervehicle collisions. Work internationally with both governments and non-governmental organisations, suchas providing training overseas on the rehabilitation of oiled birds and the identificationof freshwater turtles. 6. Here are just a few: Wild animals kept as pets. Wild animals used in performance. Management and control or culling of wildlife. Non-native species and their welfare impacts on native animals, such as grey and redsquirrels. Rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife, and research into post-release survival. Wildlife trade, for example working with national and global organisationsincluding Wildlife and Countryside Link, SSN and CITES. 7. Commercial fishing As a welfare organisation, were concerned not onlyby the scale of fish slaughter - a billion are caughteach year off the British coast alone - but also by theway in which they die: crammed in nets, suffocated inthe air once landed or even gutted alive.But with regret we acknowledge just how difficult itis to make commercial fishing more humane harvesting fish on the high seas in wild weather doesnot allow for the control that can be exercised in,for example, a well-managed farming system. We do, however, expect commercially farmed fish tobe treated with the same degree of compassion asany other sentient farmed animal. To this end, weve developed detailed welfarestandards for farmed Atlantic salmon, which are designed to ensure higher standards ofanimal welfare for all fish kept according to the requirements. 8. By-catchAquatic animals can also die as a side effect of intensive fishing. Thousands of porpoises,dolphins and other sea life are caught every year in nets used for fishing, suffering a slowdeath. To find out more about cetacean (dolphins, porpoises and whales) by catch aroundthe UK, have a look at the by catch indicator in the latest edition of our report called TheWelfare State: Measuring Animal Welfare in the UK.PersecutionSome aquatic and marine animals, particularly seals and predatory birds like cormorants,are persecuted because fishermen claim they eat too many fish. Where such claims aremade, we will always thoroughly examine them. We look for proof of the real extent ofdamage and that all humane alternatives have been thoroughly considered. 9. Pet tradeWe dont believe its right to catch wild fish and other sea or freshwater animals for the pettrade. Such animals suffer unacceptably high mortality during capture, transport, sale andwhen kept in the wrong environment.PollutionIndustrial pollutants poison animals in seas, rivers and lakes and animals are caught in spiltoil that has either been carelessly dumped or accidentally leaked from shipwrecks. Littersuch as balloons, which can be mistaken by turtles and seals for jellyfish, can causesignificant damage or even death. 10. Most landscapes or habitats - even those that seem fairly natural, such as woodlands andseashores - are now dominated by human activity. These activities can cause suffering oraffect wild animals in many different ways, either as a direct result or an unintendedconsequence - or a bit of both. 11. Wild animals are kept in captivity for a variety of reasons and in a wide range ofenvironments, including in zoos, circuses, other performing environments and in peopleshomes as pets. 12. To care for any animal well takes time, money, interest and knowledge - not just toprevent it suffering, but also to make sure it gets everything it needs, which is a legalrequirement under the Animal Welfare Act.Giving animals, especially wild ones, what they need can prove a bit challenging to saythe least! Its important that the needs of the animal are met, so weve put togethersome care information on more commonly kept non-domestic animals in our exoticpets section to try and help. We think that if you cant meet the needs of an animal thenyou shouldnt try and keep it.In some circumstances, we believe its best not to keep certain types of wild animal atall because of the conditions they are subjected to, particularly if the animal is onlythere to entertain. Examples include primates as pets, dolphins in dolphinaria, elephantsin zoos and wild animals in circuses. 13. Generally, the bigger the difference between conditions in captivity and in the wild, thegreater the risk to animal welfare. The best captive environments will mimic elements of ananimals natural surroundings.This isnt to say the wild is an idyllic place free from all problems its not! But animalshave evolved over thousands of years, adapting to live in certain types of naturalenvironment. Placing animals in very different surroundings can cause stress and behaviourproblems.. . . breeding animals for a few generations doesnt wipe out thousands of years ofevolution.Animals bred and kept in captivity are vulnerable to welfare problems because breedinganimals for a few generations doesnt wipe out thousands of years of evolution. A tiger bornin a circus has essentially the same needs as a tiger born in the wild. 14. Lots of young animals are handed in to us as orphans, but many of them actually haventbeen abandoned at all! If youre worried about a baby animal that seems to be alone readour advice below. If after that youre sure the animal has been abandoned, either call uson 0300 1234 999 or find your nearest wildlife rehabilitator. 15. Wildlife rehabilitation is the treatment of a sick, injured or orphaned wild animal until it ishealthy and prepared for a successful life when released back into the wild.In the UK, there are many wildlife rehabilitators running a variety of facilities. They maycare for many different species or specialise in certain ones, such as birds of prey orhedgehogs. 16. Laws relating to wildlife can be detailed and complicated.To try and help, weve outlined some key points from a number of the wildlife laws inEngland and Wales.We also direct you to the right place for more detailed info and provide you with contactdetails in case you are worried that a wild animal is being treated illegally.