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Eastern Taiwan Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center Established: The Last Link Completing Taiwan's Wildlife Rescue Network

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202007/20
In order to strengthen the wildlife rescue network in Taiwan, the Forestry Bureau of the Council of Agriculture (COA) signed a cooperation agreement with Taiwan's WildOne Wildlife Conservation Association today (20th) to jointly launch the first large-scale wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center in eastern Taiwan, thus completing the wildlife rescue network in the eastern part of the country. In the future, the center will assist in the rescue and rehabilitation of wild animals in eastern Taiwan, especially in the emergency rescue and medical care of protected species, such as the Formosan black bear and pangolin. This will allow rescuers to seize the golden window for medical treatment, which will help increase the animal's chance of recovery and release, as well as protect our country's precious wildlife.
In light of the increasing demand for wildlife rescue in eastern Taiwan, in 2018, the Forestry Bureau began evaluating the possibility of establishing a rescue center in eastern Taiwan. In 2019, the WildOne Wildlife Conservation Association took the initiative to raise funds for the establishment of an eastern Taiwan wildlife rescue center, and the Forestry Bureau immediately signed a cooperation agreement with the WildOne Wildlife Conservation Association through a program grant to establish a partnership. Through this public-private cooperation, the first large-scale wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center in eastern Taiwan was established, adding to the rescue capacity of the Hualien-Taitung region. In the future, the center will assist in the emergency rescue and medical treatment of protected species, such as the Formosan black bear and pangolin, as well as the rescue and release of other wildlife native to the Hualien-Taitung region. The Taipei Zoo, the Endemic Species Research Institute (ESRI), and the National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST) will also give support through providing veterinarians, equipment and facilities, and sheltering sites. A comprehensive wildlife rescue network will be created together with local government conservation units and commissioned rescue organizations, which will jointly protect the ecosystem of Taiwan.
Since 1992, the Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan, has joined hands with professional units to gradually establish protected wildlife shelters to shelter smuggled, illegally raised, and improperly released domestic and foreign protected species. Partner organizations include the Taipei Zoo, the ESRI, NPUST, National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium, Kaohsiung City Shoushan Zoo, and National Ilan University. In recent years, in order to implement conservation policies, these wildlife shelters have also been functioning as wildlife rescue centers, assisting the public and local organizations in the evacuation of sick and injured wild animals for medical treatment. These shelters have gradually developed into a wildlife rescue network, which is also responsible for animal rehabilitation, academic research, and education and advocacy.
The Forestry Bureau said that due to the expansion of human activities and the rise in public awareness for conservation, the demand for wildlife rescue has multiplied over the years. The government has for many years invested large amounts of money and manpower in wildlife rescue work; in particular, the work capacity of rescue, medical treatment, care, and release of protected wildlife species has been enhanced since 2018. For example, the Taipei Zoo is responsible for the rescue of protected species in northern Taiwan, ex situ conservation of otters and leopard cats, and specialist wildlife medical care. The ESRI is responsible for the rescue and release of Formosan black bears, leopard cats, pangolins, and black-faced spoonbills in central Taiwan. NPUST is responsible for the rescue and release of Formosan black bears, pangolins, and birds in southern Taiwan. In addition, National Taiwan University (NTU) provides assistance in the rescue and medical treatment of wild birds in northern Taiwan, and the Kinmen Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation Association first aid station assists with the rescue of otters and other wild animals. Whether it is famous otters, such as Da-jin, Xiao-jin, and Jin-sha, or the Dasyueshan female bear with a toothache, or the bear cubs from Nan'an, Guangyuan, and Lidao in the Hualien-Taitung region, as well as the Jinping female bear that has recently recovered from injury and is ready to be released, all such animals were evacuated and treated through the wildlife rescue system. According to statistics, more than 500 endangered wild animals and pangolins have been rescued in the past five years, and more than 50% of them have been successfully returned to the wild after undergoing rehabilitation and wild release training.
At present, professional wildlife emergency first aid stations are located in northern, central, southern Taiwan, and the outlying islands of Kinmen, as well as in the ecologically-diverse Hualien-Taitung region and professional wildlife rescue organizations. As the concept of conservation becomes more and more universal, the number of reported wildlife rescue cases has more than doubled compared to five years ago. In recent years, there have been numerous accounts of Formosan black bear and pangolin rescue cases in Taiwan. In the past, such major rescue cases required veterinarian support from western Taiwan, and the patients had to be evacuated to the Taipei Zoo or NPUST for follow-up medical attention. According to the Forestry Bureau, the Eastern Taiwan Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center will be able to significantly shorten the transportation distance for animals on the way to medical treatment, which will reduce the chance of emergency situations occurring during transportation, improve the efficiency of rescuers arriving onsite, make good use of the golden time for medical treatment, and increase the chance of success in the animal's recovery and wildlife release. The Forestry Bureau and the WildOne Wildlife Conservation Association will work together to improve the Eastern Taiwan Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, so that wildlife conservation programs can be implemented without hindrance.
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