Czech rescue group saves thousands of wild animals every year

Dohle - kavka (Foto: Archiv Radio Prag)

Eleven years ago, the Czech Union for Nature Conservation started opening rescue centers for injured wild animals all over the Czech Republic. To date, 26 centers have been opened and last year alone over 10,000 animals were brought to a rescue center. The organization’s member Markéta Pecková talks about issues in rescuing wild animals and how the situation is changing.

“Overall, I think the situation has been improving because people are becoming more informed on the issue and know what to do and they know there is the option if they find a rabbit or a raptor that they can call us and we will take care of the wounded animal.

“Unfortunately, with the number of cars increasing, there’s also a rise in the number of animals killed by cars. But overall, it’s been rather positive since there is more information being spread.”

Which animals are most affected by injuries, which do you see most at your rescue centers?

“Definitely birds, they get burned by electricity poles, or they get injured because they fly and hit glass of buildings or bus stops. Birds cannot see glass and when they crash against it, they die or they break their wings.

“A lot of hedgehogs are brought to our centers. A lot of people find hedgehog babies in the fall, and they are not as big as they need to be for hibernation, so we take care of them and release them.”

How can humans modify their behavior to avoid contributing to the issue of injured wild-living animals? Are there easy things we can avoid doing?

“As far as animal babies go, people could get more educated about baby animals living in the wild. A lot of people will touch a baby rabbit or a baby deer and often, those babies are just waiting for their mothers to feed them.

“Once people have touched the animal, the mother will refuse to take care of it. And in spring, there are a lot of young birds around that are just learning to fly, and people find them and think it’s a lost baby bird. Then they bring it to our station, even though the mother would have taken care of it, but they take the animal out of the system.”