Undergraduate Honors Thesis Projects

Date of Award

Spring 2018

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. Andrew Calinger-Yoak

Third Committee Member

Dr. Margaret Koehler


wildlife rehabilitation, release rate, outcome, prediction factors

Subject Categories

Animal Sciences | Veterinary Medicine


Wildlife rehabilitation is a large and internationally known field with thousands of rehabilitators around the world. Resources, such as time and money, are extremely limited in rehabilitation facilities and not all animals are candidates for release due to injuries or illnesses that make them unlikely to survive in the wild. Understanding what factors predict release would be useful in focusing limited resources, but there has been little investigation previously. The purpose of this study is to determine what factors affect the survival of mammals and birds at an American Midwest wildlife rehabilitation center. It was found that animals admitted with trauma and fracture or injuries to the skull, hindlimb/pelvis, spine/tail, or nervous system had low rates of release. Weight was also a factor of release for young mammals; animals that were below average weight for their life stage were less likely to be released. This data may be of use in improving triage techniques in the American Midwest and abroad.