Animals from urban areas are regularly brought into wildlife rehabilitation centers, providing untapped potential data records to inform management of wildlife species. Although rescues may be considered a wildlife stewardship behavior, not all ‘rescues’ may be warranted. Some animals are more likely to be brought into a rescue center than others, suggesting that human drivers underlying wildlife rehabilitation efforts are important to understand for urban conservation efforts. Literature has primarily focused on understanding the ecological drivers and implications of wildlife rescues. Our study is the first to investigate both the social and ecological drivers of bird rescues using census, household survey, and intake data. In Phoenix metropolitan area, Arizona, USA in 2017–2018, we found doves and common species were sent to the center most often. Altricial species (helpless at hatching) and young birds were more likely to be brought to the center, perhaps due to perceptions of young animals as vulnerable. We found rescues came from neighborhoods with higher incomes and residents with pro-ecological worldviews, perhaps reflecting a perceived responsibility for wildlife. Conversely, few rescues came from neighborhoods with a high percentage of Hispanic/Latinx residents, who often feel more interdependent with nature. Neighborhoods with greater numbers of rescues were more likely to have residents participating in yard stewardship activities as compared to neighborhoods with fewer rescues. Our findings are relevant to understanding drivers of wildlife stewardship actions and for intake centers who wish to reduce the occurrence of people bringing in wildlife that do not need to be rescued.
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Data from Phoenix Area Social Survey available through the Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research Program (CAP LTER). https://sustainability-innovation.asu.edu/caplter/data/view/knb-lter-cap.667.1/
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Bird rescue data from 2018 were collected and provided by the non-profit organization, Liberty Wildlife (https://libertywildlife.org). This work is supported by the National Science Foundation under grant numbers DEB-1637590 and DEB-1832016 through the Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research Program (CAP LTER).
This work is supported by the National Science Foundation under grant numbers DEB-1637590 and DEB-1832016 through the Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research Program (CAP LTER).
Social survey data were obtained with Arizona State University, Institutional Research Board approval (protocol #STUDY00004900).
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Social survey participants gave written consent through mailings.
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Bird rescue data from 2018 were collected and provided by the non-profit organization, Liberty Wildlife (https://libertywildlife.org).
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The authors have no conflicts to declare.
Andrade and Bateman shared the 1st authorship.
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Andrade, R., Bateman, H.L., Larson, K.L. et al. To the rescue—Evaluating the social-ecological patterns for bird intakes. Urban Ecosyst 25, 179–192 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-021-01135-1