Raptors, also known as birds of prey, are carnivorous predators. They are characterized by their hooked bill (mouth), strong feet, sharply curved talons and large eyes. Some raptors we have treated at the clinic include owls, eagles, hawks, vultures, kestrels, kites, falcons, and osprey.
|What to do if you find an injured raptor…|
||In the event you find an injured raptor or endangered species, you should first think of your own safety. Remember these are wild animals!|
||To increase the odds of a successful subsequent release, note the area where the animal was found.|
||You will need a towel, or some other cloth like material to cover the animal completely. You will also need a cardboard box with air holes or a pet carrier to transport the animal safely.|
||Slowly approach the animal from behind and cover the body and head with the towel. The animal may struggle but should calm down. *If it is a raptor, its bill, feet and talons are the main means of defense, so be careful!|
||Gather the animal into the box and secure the lid.|
||Transport the animal immediately to the proper animal health center. Those found in and around the Columbia area should be brought to the Raptor Clinic at Riverbanks Zoo. *Please note, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden cannot be responsible for transportation of these animals. If you have any questions about what to do or where to transport the animal, call the main Zoo number, then dial ext. 1138 to reach the BB&T Raptor Clinic.|
||While the animal is being transported, do not feed it or force it to drink, even though it may seem hungry and thirsty. Feeding an injured animal can severely decrease its chance for survival.|
||In case you find a baby raptor, do not assume it is an orphan! As long as it is standing up and is not injured or in immediate danger, do not pick it up. Many fledglings are mistaken for orphans. Their chance of survival is decreased dramatically if they are disturbed or relocated unnecessarily.|
||Under both state and federal law it is illegal for anyone to injure or possess a bird of prey. Only persons fully licensed by both the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the State of S.C. may rehabilitate injured raptors.|
Who takes care of the injured animals?
The Riverbanks Zoo hospital staff operates the clinic. The staff consists of two veterinarians, two registered veterinary technicians and two animal keepers. The clinic also relies on volunteer staffers who donate many hours each year.
What happens to the injured wildlife brought to the Raptor Clinic?
The clinic has provisions for managing the critically ill patient, including hospitalization, radiography, surgery, laboratory support, a pharmacy, and outside holding areas. Patients are treated on a case-by-case basis and presented with such problems as gunshot wounds and 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.
How is the clinic funded?
The BB&T Clinic for Raptors and Endangered Species is financed entirely by private donations and in-kind gifts of medical supplies, pharmaceuticals and food that these critical patients require. 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 brining injured raptors to us. As mentioned, 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, P.O. Box 1060, Columbia SC 29202-1060. Be sure to designate your donation for the Raptor Clinic.