DOI: 10.3390/ani14010051 ISSN: 2076-2615

A Retrospective Analysis of Admission Trends and Outcomes in a Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Costa Rica

Maria Miguel Costa, Nazaré Pinto da Cunha, Isabel Hagnauer, Marta Venegas
  • General Veterinary
  • Animal Science and Zoology

The evaluation of data regarding rehabilitation practices provides reference values for comparison purposes among different rehabilitation centers to critically review protocols and efficiently improve each center. The aim of the present work was to present the main causes of admission to Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center for each taxonomic group, to determine the admission factors that influenced the release and mortality, and to determine the predictive factors of release and mortality of wildlife. To this end, a retrospective study was carried out based on 5785 admissions registered in the database of Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center in Costa Rica in 2020 and 2021. Statistical analysis consisted of sample characterization via the analysis of several categorical variables: species, order, class, age group, cause of admission, outcome, clinical classification and days in the hospital, and respective association with the mortality or release rate. Most of the rescue animals were birds (59.3%), then mammals (20.7%), reptiles (17.4%), and finally ‘others’ (2.6%). The main causes of admission were ‘captivity’ (34.9%), ‘found’ (23.3%), and ‘trauma’ (19.3%). Animals rescued due to ‘captivity’ and the classes ‘birds’ and ‘reptiles’ had the highest release rates. The causes of admission ‘trauma’ and ‘orphanhood’ and the class ‘birds’ had the highest mortality rates. In general, a greater number of days spent in the hospital and membership in the classes ‘reptiles’, ‘juveniles’, in need of ‘basic care’, or ‘clinically healthy’ were predictors of survival. In contrast, the age groups ‘infant’ and ‘nestling’ were predictors of mortality. These results demonstrate the value of maintaining, improving, and studying databases from wildlife rehabilitation centers, as they can provide useful information that can be used to enhance the allocation of economic resources, treatment methods, disease surveillance, public education, and regulatory decision-making, leading to a better understanding of threats to wildlife and subsequent implementation of conservation actions.

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