I’m wondering, I volunteer at a raptor rehab facility were birds are kept for short periods of time, until they are able to be released back into the wild. I was wondering when taking pictures of these birds should I classify them as “captive/ cultivated” when they are in reality wild animals that are just within captivity to become more stable.
So i n short. Should an animal being held temporarily for rehab/ research puroses be classified as “captive/cultivated” or as “wild”???
Not expert opinion at all, but I might think similar to species of anything else taken back somewhere and photographed, to still mark it Wild for an observation what you really want is location data to put for when & where the bird was picked up and not the rehab facility.
Whatever you consider good-enough location data for your usual bird observations out in the field would be fine, but just never at the facility unless that’s where the bird was actually found, having got there itself (as far as you can tell) without people.
Here is the FAQ.
It comes down to whether this constitutes a “zebra in a zoo” situation or a “snake that you just picked up” situation. Strictly speaking, I think the raptor is a zebra not a snake (so to speak) but nothing about this categorizaton of observations is straightforward once you get a little bit off centre from the assumptions underlying the definitions. It’s kind of the point I was making with my slightly cheeky post on this topic. Feel free to offer an opinion on that one.
I agree with @mkremedios . If you have the location information for where the organism was collected (and set accuracy bubble appropriately) it can be classified as “wild”, if you don’t and have the location set to the rehab facility then it should be set to “captive/cultivated”.
I’ve had a few instances of this and my rule of thumb is that the location should always reflect where the organism was observed/collected in a wild state, otherwise it should be marked “captive/cultivated”.
It’s a grey area that will have a few different interpretations, but I personally would treat observations while under treatment as casual. It’s obvious that the place is to be factored, but it’s not so obvious about the time… ie at the time of the observation the animal might not have been still alive without the human intervention, so even placing the pin where it was found wouldn’t be enough to fully classify the observation as a “wild encounter”.
When the animal recovers and is released, I would put the observations during the release as captive, but then any observations after that (when it is where and when it chooses of its own volition) I would put as wild.
But again, there will be many takes on this…
 and I would consider connecting the observations up with the field “similar observation set” or “observation group”, if not already connected via a project of some sort!
And its recovery to the point of release may not be a foregone conclusion.
Yes, very much a grey area that will have many nuanced spins on it that could influence how one decides to mark it. Ultimately, as long as a degree of thought is put into it, it can’t really be judged wrong. Similar-ish situation with raising on caterpillars, or taking pupa to later observe what emerges…
Generally agree with posters above. I think if you enter an observation with the time, date, and location where the animal was initially encountered, this is probably ok to be considered “wild”.
Any other situation (time/date after capture, location different from capture), I would mark it as captive.
I would also note the situation in the description in case anyone has a question about it.
I also agree that observations either at or right after release should still be marked as captive, since the reason the animal would be present at that time and place is through human intervention and not because of the animal’s natural behavior.
I work at a teaching hospital that treats wildlife. I don’t submit many for observations, but when I do, I make sure to note it as being under my care. I don’t fill in the wild/captive/cultivated button and let the user of the data decide if they want it or not.
You have to mark those by yourself if you have no questions about their status.
My opinion is to mark it as Captive.
Even if you really know the time/location the animal was captured, your photos are likely to be a different time and place. Right?
My understanding is that a iNat observation photo should record when and where it was observed. Not when and where the animal was days or weeks previously.
Also, I want to express my thanks for the rehab work you do. I know it is demanding.
It’s the same as when you pin insects and photograph them after that, if it was an adult animal it’s ok to post it some days after capturing, as long as data is set correctly, but it surely needs to be done by those who captured it, if you just got it by somebody else you didn’t observe it in natural environment and have no right to add such observation as valid.
It’s not strictly per the guidelines, but if you took a picture of the animal “as and where it is now”, but put the pin location to where it was found and the date to when it was found, and put a comment to the explain what you have done (asserting that it IS the same animal), then that would suffice as evidence of the wild encounter. However, I think an actual photograph at time of capture is far superior to this scenario… and then captive observations of the “animal in hand” after the fact are perfectly acceptable…
Look at this Observation from earlier today…
Great Horned Owl Obs - iNaturalist
This bird was taken into captivity because it was sick and needed to be treated. For all intents and purposes this bird is in fact wild. But is being held in captivity temporarily.
Say theoretically if I worked at the rehab enter it was taken to, and ID’ed it.
Would it be “captive” or “wild” ?
Does the bird stop being wild for a short period of time when under medical rehabilitation.
Any observation that has location and date consistent with time in captivity (and the immediate time after release) should be marked captive. But it’s a grey area, you need to make a judgement call in each case. Just asking the question “would a wild bird likely be found in a cage (or rehab centre) having got their by its own choice?”
I think we also need to consider that the wild/captive designation is not about the status of the animal, but rather the encounter with the animal… iNat observations are literally encounters with, not actual physical specimens. This distinction also applies in plants, where a cultivated plant is one that is planted or tended by humans, vs the subsequent generations coming from that plant (eg seedlings) are treated as wild. Grass growing in my neighbours property is weeded and mowed (and fertilised and watered :O ), whereas mine is just what species blows in, never mown! I would call the neighbours grass cultivated, but call mine wild … Grey areas…
I’m not sure you can say that it stops being wild. But I am really pretty sure you can say it starts being captive. Once it’s released, it’s no longer captive.
If the animal would have died without rehabilitation, then technically, everywhere it goes after release, for the rest of its life, is through human intervention.
was that an intended oxymoron? :)