Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Beijing Raptor Rescue Centre

I finally found the time to visit the Beijing Raptor Rescue Centre this weekend. This centre was established in 2001 by IFAW and Beijing Normal University (BNU) on BNU grounds. It provides rehabilitation and medical treatment for raptors that are e.g. hurt when flying into kite strings or glass buildings, or kept illegally as pets. The centre holds the birds for a maximum of three months, trying to heal them with the target of releasing them into the mountains. This target has been reached for hundreds of birds, but unfortunately about 1/3 of them cannot be rehabilitated and are euthanised instead. They also educate people on raptor conservation.

The centre has had many international visitors and is endorsed by organizations such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Several of the people working there are vegetarian, which is very much a rarity in China. The raptors, obviously, are not. They're fed with chicken and mice. Their cages weren't terribly large, but probably bearable for short time keeping, especially for the smaller birds. They had also artificial rain in parts of the cages and tried to keep human contact to a minimum so the birds would live more naturally. Detailed health logs are kept on each bird.

In any case, it was very interesting and very positive to see a wildlife rescue centre in China, there are very few and from the lack of wildlife, they would be very much in need. At the moment the centre had 20 gorgeous birds, hopefully they can all be released soon.

6 comments:

urban vegan said...

Poor babies! Nice to hear something nice about China these days.

dreamy said...

Hmm.. I will never open a centre like that as it puts me in a dilemma. What makes a raptor's life more important than a mouse's or a chicken's? Although it's good their heart is in the right place, I thought all lives shld be respected no matter what shapes and sizes they come in...

Travegan said...

Yeah, that is a dilemma that led one vegetarian friend away from the idea of working for the centre. Raptors are meat-eaters and when they hunt that's perfectly fine and natural, but with humans feeding them... I guess the difference between raptors and chickens would be that there are more chickens, but then there are so many humans around that surely this species is of practically no value, if that line is followed?

dreamy said...

hehe so best open a farm sanctuary! No dilemmas :)

Anonymous said...

I am from the raptor center. My point is that, people have the right to choose the way to live but we CAN not ask animals to do as people's mind.

Jari (travelling-vegan) said...

That's right, and that is why I don't think anyone has any problem when the raptors hunt. The dilemma comes when humans kill animals to feed other animals. That is a human choice. Yet, the birds should be rescued, and they may not get their required nutritions from vegetable sources... so it is a dilemma.