SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

Wildlife Rehabilitation

SPCA supports the rehabilitation of wild animals when there is a reasonable expectation that they will be successfully returned back into the wild.

In cases where a wild animal is unlikely to survive, remain permanently disabled, or otherwise unfit for life in the wild, then SPCA recommends that the animal must be euthanased as soon as possible to avoid causing further harm. The only exception to this is where the animal’s quality of life within a captive or semi-captive environment can be assured in a facility that meets all of its physical, health, and behavioural needs.

Consideration should be given to the psychological distress that a wild animal can experience while held captive, and handled during rehabilitation or treatment. All interactions with these animals, including their transportation, must seek to minimise physical and psychological harms, including distressing sensory stimulation (noises, sights, smells or touch).

Wild animals must be released as soon as possible once there is a high probability that they will survive long-term, and when they are capable of living without human intervention. The animal should be returned as close as possible to where it was collected, unless this is unfeasible, or if another suitable area with adequate habitat is available and it will not be detrimental to the individual animals or other populations.

Where specific legislation prevents the release of a non-native species, the animal must be immediately and humanely killed.

(see Casualty Wildlife for more information

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