Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2024

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School



Biological Sciences

Program or Major


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Janet Anderson


Wildlife rehabilitation is an often-unacknowledged practice within the overarching field of wildlife protection and conservation. This practice involves the treatment and hopeful release of wild animals affected by various ailments. With the continued expansion of and interest in the field, it could be assumed that wildlife rehabilitation is supported and funded by government bodies, but this is not the case. Because of the lack of funding and resources, many wildlife rehabilitation centers cannot achieve their full rehabilitative potential and expand their reach in the conservation world. Additionally, an absence of support leads critics to question the ethical standards of wildlife rehabilitation even though the practice is highly regulated and there is no evidence for direct negative consequences on wildlife well-being due to wildlife rehabilitation (Cope et al. 2022). This study evaluates the primary limitations facing wildlife rehabilitation centers in New England through quantitative and qualitative data analysis from both a survey and interviews. The results of this study highlighted that funding and resources were the primary limitations that the participating organizations were dealing with and that staff and access to veterinarians are other potential sources of struggle that can be mitigated with the provision of funding and resource aid. These limitations affected many areas of the organization and reduced the ability for extended programs. From these findings, solutions were proposed to increase access to funding and resources for wildlife rehabilitation centers that include strategies at a smaller scale like self-advocacy and use of third-party organizations, and at a larger, more important scale like a direct stream of funding for wildlife rehabilitation under state/federal governments. Implementing one or more of these solutions in the near future could allow wildlife rehabilitation centers to efficiently perform their role in conserving native wildlife.

Included in

Zoology Commons