Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers and Climate Change

By Tara Miller


I saw deep in the eyes of the animals the human soul look out upon me.” 
- Henry David Thoreau 


This summer, I worked with New York wildlife rehabilitation (rehab) centers to study whether rates of diseases are increasing.


A fox with mange, a parasitic disease, at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge
(Photo courtesy of the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge)


Wendy Hall, co-founder of the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge in Wilmington, NY, told me she is seeing more animals afflicted by diseases that used to be rare, like West Nile virus and mange. Increasing rates of disease may be linked to climate change, as warmer temperatures allow disease vectors to move northward.


Wendy Hall with a red-tailed hawk
(Photo courtesy of the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge)


Could diseases be tracked over time using wildlife rehab records? This was my summer project, tapping into these records and connecting with wildlife people who care for sick animals. The goal is to keep animals, people, and the environment healthier.


A volunteer at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge teaches a group about barn owls
(Photo courtesy of the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge)

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