Raptors, also known as birds of prey, are carnivorous predators. They are characterized by their hooked bills, strong feet, sharply curved talons and large eyes. The hospital staff at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden has been treating raptors and endangered species for more than 30 years. Thanks to a donation from BB&T bank, in 1996 a medical clinic designed specifically for the treatment of injured raptors and endangered species was constructed. Since then approximately 150 raptors have been treated each year. Owls, eagles, hawks, vultures, kestrels, kites, falcons and osprey are just some of the raptors that have been treated at the BB&T Clinic for Raptors and Endangered Species.
The BB&T Clinic for Raptors and Endangered Species is operated by the Riverbanks Zoo hospital staff (two veterinarians, two registered veterinary technicians and two animal keepers). The team also relies on volunteers who donate many hours each year.
With provisions for managing critically ill patients, the clinic offers hospitalization, radiography, surgery, laboratory support, a pharmacy and outside holding areas. Patients are treated on a case-by-case basis and are often presented as a result of gunshot wounds or vehicular collisions. (Gunshot victims are reported to proper authorities.) Any birds exhibiting signs of West Nile Virus are tested for the disease. Once stable and eating well, patients take the next step towards eventual release through discharge to the care of a licensed raptor rehabilitator. The birds are then evaluated for their ability to survive in the wild and subsequently prepared for release, a process that can take from several weeks to several months.
The clinic is financed entirely by private donations and in-kind gifts of medical supplies, pharmaceuticals and food for critical patients; the Zoo absorbs all other costs. Donations help further our mission of providing the best medical care possible for our patients.
Your interest in helping injured wildlife is a critical step and we thank you for bringing injured raptors to us. The clinic is dependent on private donations, and we eagerly accept any monetary gifts as well as capital donations. If you are interested in supporting the BB&T Medical Clinic for Raptors and Endangered Species, please make checks payable to Riverbanks Society, 500 Wildlife Pkwy, Columbia SC 29210-8014. Be sure to designate your donation for the Raptor Clinic.