Webinar presenter Dave Pauli answered a number of your questions after his presentation, Humane Wildlife Capture and Handling. Here are just a few of his responses.
Audience Question: One of our state wildlife biologists says that the life outcome rate at one year after rehabilitation or wild return is only 10%. Why is that?
Dave Pauli: I don’t know what state or what the condition is, but there are many variables. One could be the choice of the release site, was it good habitat that had a low deer population. And also what was the sex of the deer that they released, because with any animal that makes a difference for the sex that you release. So it could have been released in a really high-density deer area where the other deer were less receptive of it. It could have had severe capture myopathy and distress of capture could have put it off food. They could slit their guts; they could hit the road running and just die and capture myopathy from keep going. Everybody thinks deer are pretty hardy species, but they actually are pretty fragile. There’s a whole host of things that could affect the health of that deer. That 10% sounds really low. So I don’t know what that was based on. I think I could do a literature search you’re going to find it much higher. Another common cause of deer not surviving translocation is they don’t transport them and sternal recumbency (?), so they’re not on their chest bone and then they can regurgitate and then they can when they release them, they can go off in the woods and choke. In my part of the country, they could release some in a predator rich area where because they don’t know where the groceries are with safe berries are they can be exposed to dogs, coyotes, mountain lions, and bears. There’s a whole host of considerations. I think that 10% is not a good national number, but I don’t doubt that in this particular situation, that’s probably the number they had. But they can increase it by thinking about how they handle the animal and then where they release it.
Audience Question: You talked about not using a catchpole on wildlife. Can you expand on that?
Dave Pauli: First of all, they’re not designed for wildlife. They’re really designed to set control program. They’re really designed as a control program and they are for dogs and cats removing dogs from one thing to another. They do work for capture on animals, but they’re dangerous. For example, if you try to get a badger or a raccoon in the catch goal, if you have to do it for an emergency purpose to get it out of a well, never do it by the neck. You have to get the catchpole over at least one armpit and do an armpit touch so that you’re not putting all the stress and strain of that animal on its neck. And that’s the primary thing, wildlife when you get a catch, go on, and they’re going to go ballistic, and they’re going to shake, rattle and roll and try to get out of it. And they can injure their neck, their spine, their front legs, so it’s just really not a good and a net is a much better capture device. Catchpoles really should stand the dog realm and the shelter realm. But if you’re going to use one, you know, pay attention to how it’s used to make sure you’re not going to injure the wildlife.
Audience Question: You talked about capture myopathy. Can you kind of define that term? Just a little bit for us?
Dave Pauli: Capture Myopathy is a whole combination of things, how an individual animal response. I was a lifeguard as a kid, and they told me that some people would be spontaneous rounders that some people would fall off the edge of the pier and think that they’re going to drown and that they probably will. And it’s kind of the same thing with wildlife. Some wildlife overreacts, and they can die from stress, especially small animals, bats, and balds, they can die just from being handled. They also can die from hypothermia if you transport animals and have them in metal containers. I know many people use coffee cans for bats, and apparently, that can kill about in 10 minutes can suck the heat out of it. So that’s capture myopathy but it’s really normally stress, maybe injury. The animal may have a pre-existing heart or other bodily function concern. But some animals can die just of handling stress. So it’s the aftermath. Capture Myopathy is stress from handling and sometimes mishandling.
Audience Question: Which group or population do you find that you need to educate more often? Is it the public? Or is it ACOs and law enforcement? And has that changed and evolved over time?
Dave Pauli: Sometimes both need education but definitely the general public. I could tell story after story after story of the public misidentifying the species they have and not understanding why they have that species there or not knowing what to do with that species, that’s with the public. ACOs, law enforcement generally have the general theme and they might need some tweaking on a tool or device or a concept. But it’s pretty minor. It’s definitely the general public.
Audience Question: You talked about maximizing the gift and taking the opportunity to reach out to researchers who might benefit from your work at the same time. How would you recommend we make those relationships? How do you find researchers who might benefit from efforts that ACOs or agencies might be in the process of working on?
Dave Pauli: The internet is phenomenal. A couple of years ago, I was traveling from Montana to North Carolina in the Midwest. I saw two dead badgers and within a couple of miles of each other, and so I just got on my phone and I pushed badger research, and there was a person in Minnesota and I called them and said, “Is the badger in the side of the road of any value?” And he said, yes, I’m doing DNA capture. If you can just take a small skin type from each one of those and get a GPS location, I ended up on the trip there and back giving him 14 data points of badgers across the Midwest, and the guy is still a friend of mine. So that’s kind of one example. But generally, we have more time. If you just go to the internet and type in that species and look for researchers, back researchers are always looking for DNA. They’re trying to track both rabies and white-nose syndrome. Almost any species has some graduate students or some by doing research that are looking for data. And so just reach out and contact maybe your local Wildlife Department or your local university, and they will get you started.
Audience Question: Do you have any tips for bucks who have their antlers tangled in netting? How do you go about dealing with that situation?
Dave Pauli: This should probably be an email conversation, but I have done several things. It’s very difficult. I’ve actually had more experience with bucks having Christmas tree lights tangled to their antlers. I have removed those a few times. Chemical mobilization, I have access to that so I can do that most people don’t. There was a company from Aces (?) that was selling a taser for deer and bear that was primarily used for that purpose. It tased the deer, the deer went down for 30 to 45 seconds, and you could go up and cut the stuff off off it. But that would only be done if you know this was a life-threatening situation for that animal. Generally speaking, lessons carrying a whole bunch of material. It’s going to be able to wear it off or step it off, but if it’s life-threatening or if the animal is caught in a double catch caught in the net and then caught in a fence, then chemical mobilization or a bunch of people safely putting a big blanket or tarp over it. I don’t want to encourage people to take risks. But there are people probably in your lab equipment who are used to dealing with deer and could help do that scenario, but you’re basically you have chemical mobilization, tasing, and then netting or tarping.
Click Here to Watch a Recording of Humane Wildlife Capture and Handling.