Wildlife association raises funds for rescue center in Taitung

Taipei,  A local wildlife conservation organization is in the process of fundraising to establish a wildlife rescue center in Taitung County, which will be the first of its kind in eastern Taiwan.

WildOne Wildlife Conservation Association, which was established in 2018 by a group of veterinarians and researchers, aims to raise NT$7 million (US$232,890) for the project by the end of October, association President Chi Meng-jou (綦孟柔) told CNA on Thursday.

The center has already passed its goal of NT$2.5 million for the first round of fundraising, set to end on May 4, which will be used to cover renovation expenses, Chi said.

The second round of fundraising, which will raise money to purchase medical equipment, will begin in June or July, she added.

According to Chi, there are 300-400 reports of injured wild animals in the eastern counties of Hualien and Taitung each year, but there is no institution dedicated to treating wildlife in the region.

Of the seven government-designated wildlife rescue centers in Taiwan, there is one each in Taipei, Nantou, Taichung and the outlying island county of Penghu, while three are located in the south.

This means that when wild animals are injured in eastern Taiwan, they have to be transported to centers in either Taipei or Pingtung to receive specialized care, Chi said, a delay that can be fatal to injured animals.

In 2015, for instance, a badly injured Formosan Reeve’s muntjac could not receive medical care in Taitung and had to be transported to a center in southern Pingtung county.

However, the animal became too weak after the long journey, and had to be euthanized.

Even if injured wildlife receive preliminary care in local animal hospitals, the veterinarians there are not often trained to treat wildlife, Chi said.

Pangolins, for example, are very hard to treat because of their protective scales, so when they are injured, mostly due to stray dog attacks, they still have to be taken to Pingtung to receive treatment, Chi said.

The expertise needed to treat wildlife is very different from that of common domestic animals, Chi said, which is why the center is so urgently needed.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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