Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

High-Tech Healthcare for Virginia Wildlife

animal at wildlife center

Well into the 21st century, it’s easy to see how technology has enhanced human life. At the touch of a button, we can pay some bills, see and speak to a distant loved one, or even take a college class.

But technology hasn’t just enhanced our lives; it’s also helping to prolong them. Innovations in healthcare technology have made it easier than ever to find and treat problems that might have diminished or even ended the lives of previous generations.

The same is true for wildlife. While human habits are the root cause of plenty of illness and injury, some man-made technology is crucial to guiding these wild patients back to health.

Some animal health issues can’t be properly diagnosed without advanced technology. For example, a lead analyzer helps veterinarians quickly determine whether an animal’s symptoms are caused by lead poisoning, and exactly how much lead they are dealing with. Broken bones can be spotted quickly with digital radiography, and digestive issues can be seen clearly through endoscopy.

By getting diagnostic information as quickly and clearly as possible, the people caring for an animal in distress can swiftly move forward with a tailored treatment plan. The animal might need high-tech interventions, such as microsurgery, laser therapy or a wound VAC, to get back to good health.

While an animal is recuperating, the staff can use camera technology to keep an eye on its progress without disturbing or startling the patient. This technology also helps with the Wildlife Center of Virginia’s mission to educate the public; you can tune in to their Critter Cams for an up-close look at animals you might otherwise only see from afar.

What You Can Do!

While animal health is best left to the pros, you can harness the power of technology to learn more about the animals around you and their habits. Here are some ways to do it responsibly.

  • Put a tracking device on your pets. You can use an app to see where they have wandered, either just for fun or to make sure they aren’t getting into (or causing!) any trouble.

  • Install a trail cam to capture photos of the wildlife that come through your yard. Even a small suburban lot will likely have a possum, deer or raccoon ambling through at some point.

  • When installing home security cameras, see if you can point one at a bird feeder or nest. It’s a nice way to continue enjoying your local wildlife when you can’t be in the yard.

  • Consider getting a bat detector. These high-frequency microphones can be connected to a smartphone app to amplify the sounds they’re making and show you what kind of bats are soaring above your home.

  • Be careful with drones. These tiny aircraft have become very popular in recent years for their ability to film and photograph from great heights. But they can be a nuisance and a danger to animals, so always make sure you are flying them at a healthy distance from wildlife.

Technology, like the humans who develop it, has the power to be helpful or harmful to wildlife. While it’s amazing to see how technology has enhanced animal rehabilitation and education, the field continues to grow and evolve. Imagine the possibilities to come!

Related Stories