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© 2023 Linda Kuo
"It Takes a Village," addresses the complexities of wildlife rescue and rehabilitation in Westchester County, New York, and how the situation has been impacted by human lifestyle changes in the time of COVID-19. The project introduces a local perspective that encourages audiences to see their surroundings and everyday actions in a new light.
Since the pandemic, human activity has been significantly reduced, allowing animals to roam more freely without the threat of encountering humans. But more people at home means increased home improvement and landscaping projects, which have led to a significant rise in pesticide fatalities and habitat destruction, causing dramatic increases in harm to animals.
There are non-profits such as Animal Nation that makes it their mission to rescue and rehabilitate injured wildlife. Due to this rise in casualties, there has been a 150% increase in injured animals and Animal Nation is overwhelmed with up to 100 calls per day. With limited staff, stretched resources, and a lack of other supporting agencies - veterinary schools have been closed and short staffed - most of these animals will have to be euthanized. As a result, rehabilitation - release rates have plummeted from 80% pre-pandemic, to a current 25%.
This project informs the public about the trials of animal rescue and rehabilitation, and also raises awareness of our impact on the environment. The pictures demonstrate that animal rescue and rehabilitation is a more complex issue than it seems while also encouraging the viewer to recognize the harmful chain reactions caused by human activity. "It Takes a Village" reminds its audience to remain conscious of our relationships with animals and the consequences of our everyday actions.