Webinar presenter HSUS’ Lynsey White answered a number of your questions after her presentation, Top 10 Tips for Taking Wildlife Calls. Here are just a few of her responses.
Audience Question: Why did the Humane Society of the United States stop their exclusion service in DC?
Lynsey White: That is a good question. Part of the reason that we started the Humane Wildlife Services program was to determine whether or not it was possible to successfully have an operation like that (that used humane, exclusion-based methods only) and to make a profit while doing so. It was also a little bit of a wildlife lab, to figure out the best way to humanely solve these problems with wildlife in and around homes. So, it was never intended to be a company that would run forever (and it was a little bit of a logistical challenge with HSUS being a non-profit, with a for-profit company housed underneath it). Really the goal of that program was to learn as much as we could, and then take that information and help other companies out there become more humane with the lessons that we learned (which is what we’re doing now).
Audience Question: Do you have any suggestions for organizing community meetings and areas of wildlife where there’s like new construction happening? How do you meet with those communities to kind of help prepare them for some of the challenges? Or are you seeing agencies do that?
Lynsey White: Yeah, that’s a tricky one. It’s always challenging to try to combat the effects that development have on wildlife and to try to encourage companies to be as humane and thoughtful as possible. We do have some experience with that actually in the development of our own building in Gaithersburg, Maryland. So that’s something that I think we could probably answer better on a one-on-one basis if you want to contact me directly – hopefully we can give you some tips on that.
Audience Question: Lindsey, do you ever see moms take on a baby, a cub or a pup of their own species, but not necessarily their own pup?
Lynsey White: I personally haven’t seen it, but I’ve heard enough stories to know that it certainly does happen. I know Canada geese will sometimes do that.
Audience Question: Lindsay, are you seeing agencies using social media more like Nextdoor to provide the kinds of information and tips that you’re talking about here?
Lynsey White: Yes, definitely. We work with a number of agencies that do a really great job providing this type of messaging on Facebook. I definitely think Nextdoor is probably one of the biggest opportunities coming forward in terms of educating the public. As any of you know that monitor the Nextdoor community, people can get worked up very quickly about wildlife issues on these message boards. So it’s great if you have the ability to be plugged into those and actually give information to the public directly – easy tips that they can use. I think that’s a great way to reach people in this day and age.
Audience Question: What’s the URL for the wild neighbors pledge website again. Is that the one at the bottom of your screen there Lindsey?
Lynsey White: Yes, it’s animalsheltering.org/wildneighborspledge.
Audience Question: What is the maximum amount of time that can pass before the mother probably isn’t going to come back?
Lynsey White: You know, that’s one of those things that completely depends on the species. It’s different for every species. So that’s hard for me to answer generally, but we definitely recommend at least a couple of days for most cases. Please see our Humane Wildlife Conflict Resolution manual for more specific information and/or contact your local wildlife rehabilitator for specific guidance.
Audience Question: Our agency is reevaluating its policy regarding responding to Wildlife calls potentially referring almost all of those calls over to the State’s Department of Wildlife. Have other agencies made this same type of change? Do you know if there have been any unintended consequences because of that change? Can you talk a little bit about that?
Lynsey White: That’s a tricky one. I know that a lot of agencies and organizations don’t have the capacity to respond to wildlife calls. I don’t know that it’s a trend that more and more agencies are referring to their state agency, but it is something that I know a number of them do. We’ve actually called into some of the state wildlife hotlines to try to assess the information that they’re giving out and of course, all of them are different, but we found that by and large, the information that they’re giving is not very accurate or helpful. So, if you don’t have the time or capacity to take wildlife calls, we would recommend instead referring callers to our wildneighbors.org website. You may also link to that website on your own website. Additionally, we’re always looking to create resources that are helpful for you (right now we’re working on some fact sheets that you can directly give to the public or email to the public to help them solve problems), so please let us know of any resources that we can create that would help you.
Click Here to Watch a Recording of Top 10 Tips for Taking Wildlife Calls.