The Rehabilitation Process
Rehabilitation is the term for what is often referred to as the treatment and care of animals for release back into the wild. Here at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo, we have specially trained staff that we entrust these injured raptors to. When the veterinary staff has cleared each raptor for more intense physical therapy, we begin to prepare them for their release.
All of our rehabilitation raptors are kept in enclosures that encourage limited use of broken wings. This is the most common injury seen in raptor rehabilitation cases. In place of the typical wire caging used throughout the rest of the zoo, the rehabilitation enclosures are constructed from wooden slats. This is due to the fact that raptors and most other birds have difficulty seeing wire as opposed to wooden slat and would be more likely to fly into the wire and further injure themselves.
Over exposure/ Imprinting:
When rehabilitating any animal, including raptors, it is extremely important to limit the time spent with humans. These animals are prone to becoming imprinted or dependent on humans, which can be catastrophic to the rehabilitation process. In order to be successfully rehabilitated and released, animals need to remain wild. If you or someone you know has found an injured or orphaned raptor please call 620-793-4226 for assistance.
Intensive Care Housing:
Housing for intensive care is indoors rather than outdoors. In order for animals to properly heal, they are placed in smaller metal cages in order to limit their movements. While indoors, they are still provided with proper perches and enrichment to ensure good physical and mental health.
While a raptor is in our care, we keep a daily log of the animal’s food intake. Unlike most animals raptors actually get most of their water needs from the metabolic water within their prey. When placed outside after their intensive care has finished, each bird is given an open water source to ensure maximum hydration. Birds are still recovering from medical procedures during this stage of their rehabilitation process and their caretakers continue any treatment.
For these raptors to have a fighting chance after they have left our facility, it is crucial for us to flight test each raptor. If a raptor cannot properly fly, it cannot properly hunt and therefore becomes non-releasable. Our large flight test enclosure is located at the Larned Mental Health Facility. We have smaller enclosures on-grounds and also utilize creance flying to condition flight as well.
After the raptors have successfully demonstrated they can properly fly and live on their own, we start preparations for their release. Each raptor is released as close to the location they were found as possible, this way they are familiar with the area and it gives them a good start on their new life!
Education programs: Here at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo and Raptor Center we truly believe education plays a valuable role in the conservation efforts for both native and exotic animals alike. Our facility offers a unique opportunity to its patrons, one in which visitors get to interact with both native species and exotic species in one trip. We are staffed with exceptionally knowledgeable zookeepers who are more than happy to answer any and all questions you may have about our animals and their lives within the zoo.