A flamingo rehabber can provide a temporary respite from the constant stress of living in a petting zoo.
But it’s also a big job.
It’s the most common position in wildlife rehabilitation.
It takes an experienced rehabber about 12 months to become a licensed rehabber, according to a National Wildlife Rehabilitation Council survey conducted in August and September.
It can take more time for someone to become certified as a wildlife rehabilitator after they’ve been working for two years.
The job is rewarding.
Rehabbers are often rewarded with higher salaries, a bigger home and more freedom from the pressures of a pet.
But they also face some of the most difficult challenges rehabbers face.
“It’s not glamorous, but it’s very rewarding,” said Rebecca Skelton, who oversees the rehab program for the nonprofit wildlife rehabilitation group Friends of Animals.
Skelton says the most challenging aspect of rehabilitating flamingos is keeping them happy.
A flamingos’ natural desire to escape can often result in them staying put for days or weeks.
So rehabbers often work on making the flamingos feel safe.
“They’re very social animals and that’s not always easy to do,” Skelson said.
Skeeters said that’s part of rehabs goal.
“We try to teach them to live in the moment, to be playful, to interact with people, and to understand the emotions and the human emotions.”
That’s especially important for flamingos, which are extremely social.
Skelston said the most successful rehabilitation efforts come when rehabbers don’t leave flamingos to fend for themselves.
“If they’re going to be in a lot of stress and anxiety and they need to be with someone, then we need to teach that behavior to them,” she said.