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January 21, 2008

Wildlife Rescue Centers

Humane Society International

Illegal trade in wild animals and their parts is estimated to move billions of dollars every year worldwide. Live wild animals often fall victim to the lucrative illegal trade for a variety of uses, such as pets, meat, and tourist attractions. When these animals are confiscated by local authorities, or abandoned by their captors, they then need to undergo a rigorous process of rescue and ultimate disposition.

To fill this need, there are a number of local organizations in Latin America working to rescue, rehabilitate, and release animals, but due to limited resources and institutional support, their activities are restricted. Because of this, rescue centers in the region operate with varying degrees of success, and the lack of capacity to manage and rehabilitate seized animals is recognized by NGOs and officials alike.

Through its close working relationship with a network of local NGOs, HSI provides small grants to these organizations to help them accept and rehabilitate animals from enforcement authorities, as well as work to educate the public and assist governments in stopping the illegal trade. 

Many of the centers face the same challenges, such as difficulty achieving sustainability, limited capacity, and a shortage of technical expertise. For this reason, HSI also conducts capacity building workshops to share best practices for management of confiscated wildlife and work towards the development and evaluation of standards of practice in this area. To support this work, HSI also develops materials to encourage the sustainable sharing and implementation of best practices for the management of confiscated wildlife.