Undergraduate Honors Thesis Projects

Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type

Honors Paper

Degree Name

Zoo and Conservation Science-BS


Biology & Earth Science


Dr. Anna Young

First Committee Member

Dr. Anna Young

Second Committee Member

Dr. Elizabeth Berkeley

Third Committee Member

Dr. John Tansey


Wildlife, Wildlife Rehabilitation, Human Wildlife Conflict, Wildlife Health, Ohio Wildlife

Subject Categories



The analysis of records from wildlife rehabilitation facilities has shown great potential as a technique for monitoring health trends in local wildlife populations. We examined 45,668 records of animals admitted to a wildlife rehabilitation facility located in Ohio over a 10 year period (2005-2014). The objective was to examine how causes of admission for commonly admitted species may change over time and co-vary with seasonal patterns, with the goal of using fluctuations in wildlife admissions as a monitoring technique for population and ecosystem health. We assigned causes of admission to broad categories, such as “Collision with Non-Moving Object”, and a specific subcategory, such as “Collision with Window” or “Collision with Power Lines”. Reasons for admission were compared by species within years and across the 10 year period. We found that top specific causes for admission exhibited seasonal fluctuations that are consistent with annual biological patterns related to wildlife breeding and migratory seasons. This analysis suggests wildlife rehabilitation records do reflect phenomena occurring in local wildlife populations, supporting the use of wildlife rehabilitation facility data to monitor wildlife health, and potentially influence decision making for wildlife and ecosystem management.

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