Did They Actually Live Happily Ever After? Debunking Translocation Myths

Did They Actually Live Happily Ever After? Debunking Translocation Myths
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2021-08-03
Unit 1 Slide Deck: Did They Actually Live Happily Ever After
Unit 2 Transcript: Did They Actually Live Happily Ever After
Unit 3 Workbook: Did They Actually Live Happily Ever After
Unit 4 Recording: Did They Actually Live Happily Ever After

It’s commonly thought that removing animals from urban areas and releasing them into the wild is humane. However, multiple studies show that this isn’t the truth and that by removing wildlife from their established home ranges, their chance of survival is significantly reduced.

Dave Pauli is back on the Justice Clearinghouse to unpack the reality of translocation and the truly humane approaches available. Dave has been in the animal services profession for more than four decades where he’s served in both public and private practice. He’s currently the Director for the Humane Society of The United States.

Dave’s discussion covered:

  • Lessons he’s learned throughout his career which allowed him to improve his strategies into more humane approaches.
  • Researches that demonstrate how wildlife translocated into unfamiliar environments has a lower survival rate.
  • The laws, rules, and ethical standards to consider when handling, moving and releasing animals.
  • Understanding the different terminologies used in the animal services profession related to moving and releasing animals.
  • The Stop Light Progressive Model that outlines the order in which animal services agency should prioritize their strategies and guidelines to ensure that translocation remains humane.
  • A couple of case studies were presented to demonstrate humane ways to translocate wildlife, return wildlife to its habitat and find its den, and track animals that are part of a study.
  • The disadvantages of trapping, its cost to the animals and the responding agencies, and its inability to resolve the root of the problem by merely focusing on the symptoms.
  • Simple, effective, and humane solutions that can be used in place of trapping.
  • The benefits of reuniting parent animals with their young in terms of parental teaching, less stress for wildlife rehabilitators, and better chances of survival.
  • Tips when reuniting babies with their parents to ensure a successful reunion.
  • How stress impacts the animals, using stress as a management tool, and techniques humans can employ to minimize stress when interacting with animals.
  • The importance of not releasing non-natives to prevent survival and breeding problems.
  • Useful tips when working in the animal services sector in terms of:
    • Taking photos of unidentified animals next to an object that can provide a relative indication of size.
    • Providing a worry toy or any object that the confined animal can focus and chew on to prevent injuries and stress.
    • Embracing innovations that assist in guaranteeing the safety of wildlife.
    • Recognizing the role that each species play in the ecosystem and what humans can do to prevent conflict with them.
    • Setting up a specialized team to address the usual wildlife issues particularly the increased demand during baby season.
  • Information on the Wild Neighbors Pledge and the Animal Care Expo that promotes humane best practices and unites animal services professionals with their shared passion.

Questions from the audience were about:

  • The harms of using rodenticide to the entire ecosystem.
  • How the raccoon mentor program works.
  • Techniques to unite, translocate, relocate, and catch-and-release different wildlife species and whole family units.
  • Transporting predator and prey species together.


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Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “Very good broad presentation on topics related to release of wildlife. I especially appreciated the discussion about when translocation is a Bad thing to do. Good examples of things that go wrong, low survival rates, and then good discussion of how to make relocations work.” — Paul
  • “I did not know much on this topic so I learned many valuable things!” — Susan D.
  • “I liked the statistics for animal survival. I always like to have statistics from groups like the HSUS for callers.” — Maureen
  • “Anything Dave Pauli says – he is a fountain of wildlife knowledge and experience; Dave on a regular basis would be great – thanks so much for having him on.” — DAVID
  • “Dave is incredible and I still want to be him when he retires!” —  Ned
  • “This was a fantastic presentation, with common sense, trial-tested solutions, and concise explanations of why some things work and some things don’t. My thanks to Dave Pauli. I would love to see some of his videos.” — M.M.



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This webinar has been certified by the National Animal Care & Control Association and is approved for 1 Continuing Education Unit. Please refer to your NACA membership portal for current CEU submission process. Current NACA Members who attend the live presentation or watch the recording will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Animal Care & Control Association logo. Visit the NACA training page for a complete list of future trainings.




This webinar has been pre-approved by the Maine Animal Welfare Program for 1 Continuing Education Unit for the State of Maine’s ACO annual training. You can find more information about Certification, required annual training or submitting materials for credit at Maine’s Animal Control Officer Resource Page.





** This webinar has been certified by the National Animal Care and Control Association and may be eligible for Continuing Education Units. Please consult your local certification processes for additional details. Current NACA Members who attend will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Animal Care & Control Association logo.
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