As most of you know, CLAWS is run out of our home. This makes us different than a lot of facilities and more closely in tune with home rehabilitators. We do this because all animals that are in rehabilitation should have their sights back on being wild and free. In order to live a happy and healthy life as a wild animal, they all need a healthy fear of humans.
We have people tell us constantly that we should allow volunteers to come in and help us. Many say they’d be more than happy to clean cages, shovel poop, whatever. Don’t think these offers and concerns do not touch us, they absolutely do. But part of making the decision to open CLAWS included a decision to turn our home and lives over to the CLAWS mission, which means doing what is best for the animals, not what is more convenient or easier for us.
We know that people see other organizations that are run by either having volunteers come in and do all feedings, cleaning, and basic care, or that send most of their rehabilitating animals home with volunteers. Having done a lot of research, working with other organizations who have volunteers come in to feed, and watching the difference between wild animals raised with two humans at most seeing them, we truly believe that this gives them the best chance for survival and least risk of imprinting or habituation during rehabilitation. International wildlife organizations also say that seeing more than two people is not healthy for rehabilitating animals and our fawn permit very specifically states that our fawn cannot see more than two humans during their months in rehabilitation.
In North Carolina, it is illegal to send animals home with people who are not already permitted to rehabilitate on their own. So this is not something we could do, even with our apprenticing volunteers who we feel have the experience to do this. Also, at a federal level, it is never legal to send birds home, even for flight training, with any person who is not permitted by USF&W.
We do teach classes and apprentice new rehabilitators so that they can do this on their own. We feel that empowering others to do what we do helps animals and people more than keeping these people “under our thumb” to make sure they always do things exactly as we would. It also helps to get help into areas where they may be very few or no rehabilitators.
Having transporters this year has taken such a load off of our plate, we can’t even tell you! Our transporters have been WONDERFUL people, who have helped to give us more time to care for the animals and given us more support than many may know. And, for me personally, teaching the transporter classes has been more fun than any rehabilitation classes. We thank all of our previous, present and future transporters from the bottom of our hearts!
We are hoping, in the coming year, to help people who maybe cannot rehabilitate on the level that we do, but want to do some rehabilitating on their own, obtain permits yet have us triage their calls. This is how we intend to build a team of CLAWS rehabilitators. If this is something that may interest you, please keep up with the fan page and this blog.