Sākums Rehabilitation of orphaned or injured wildlife

Rehabilitation of orphaned or injured wildlife

Riga Zoo takes care of wildlife casualties, rehabilitating them and, where possible, releasing them back into the wild. In 2008–2017, 377 wild animals where admitted to the Zoo’s Quarantine station. 228 of them were rehabilitated successfully and 77 were released back into the wild.

Rehabilitation work is conducted both by the Zoo in Riga and Affiliate Cīruļi. For example, in 2002, when a severe storm in Southern Latvia destroyed many White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) nests and in addition to this a drought in July–August made stork’s food source scarce, 21 White Storks were admitted to Zoo’s Affiliate Cīruļi. 11 young were rehabilitated successfully, and nine of them were able to join the wild stork autumn migration to Africa. 

Since the space and resources of the Zoo are limited it is not able to provide help in all cases. A number of wildlife rehabilitation centers that have been created in Latvia in recent years are also prepared to help wild animals in trouble. The Zoo conducts education campaigns to raise public awareness and prevent wild animals from ending up in unnecessary captivity.


Birne I. 2017. Savvaļas dzīvniekam nepieciešama palīdzība? Ko darīt? – Latvijas Veterinārārstu biedrības ikgadējā konference 3.03.2017., Rīga. (In Latvian.)

Rehabilitation of orphaned seal pups

Riga Zoo undertakes the rehabilitation of stranded seal pups found on shores of the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga. In 1983–2017, 138 seal pups were brought to the Zoo. 66 of them were rehabilitated successfully. The rehabilitated seals were included in the Zoo’s animal collection, sent to other zoos or released back to the sea. In 2002–2017 a total of sixteen rehabilitated young seals were released back to the Gulf of Riga. All individuals were equipped with flipper tags.

As part of the mission to conserve biodiversity, Riga ZOO in cooperation with Nature Conservation Agency of Latvia works as a center for the rehabilitation of stranded grey seal pups (Halichoerus grypus) on the coasts of the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga. Between 1983 and 2017, 138 seal pups were brought to the zoo. 66 of them were successfully rehabilitated. The rehabilitated seals were included in the zoo’s animal collection, sent to other zoos or returned to the sea. During 2002-2023, a total of 26 rehabilitated seals were returned to the Gulf of Riga. All individuals were equipped with flipper tags. There have been no reports that any of the tagged specimens have been found.

Since 2019, Riga ZOO has started a GPS tracking program aimed at studying the behavior of the released seals and their survivability. The results show released animals follow the main migratory routes of the species within the Baltic Sea, visiting the main colonies and feeding areas from Denmark to Finland.


Di Marzio A. 2022. Results of GPS monitoring of grey seals rescued by Riga Zoo. Abstract. – In: Deksne G. (ed.). University of Latvia: 80th Scientific conference, Zoology and Animal Ecology. Abstract Book. 31 January 2022. Nature House, University of Latvia, Riga, Latvia. P. 23.

Di Marzio A., Šķērstiņa R., Kalniņa M. 2021. Grey Seals at Riga Zoo: Conservation and education. Poster report. EAZA Online Annual Conference, 21.09.2021.

Rehabilitation of bats

Since 2021 Rīga ZOO works as a rehabilitation center for wild bats in collaboration with Bat Research Society of Latvia (latvijassiksparni.org).

The Turtle Sanctuary

In 2010, a Turtle Sanctuary was opened in Riga Zoo’s Quarantine station, inviting people to take their unwanted pet turtles to the sanctuary rather than release them into the wild. In 2003–2020, a total of 513 turtles of various exotic species were admitted to the Zoo. Most of them were Red-eared Sliders of various subspecies. The Turtle Sanctuary has helped educate people, as well as find new homes to the turtles arriving at the Zoo.

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