Protect yourself and others and do no harm – these are the two primary guiding principles for organizations working with wildlife. But what does this exactly mean and look like? This webinar provides guidance on humane and best practices when it comes to handling and helping wild animals in distress.
This session’s speakers are Dave Pauli, with decades worth of experience in wildlife rescue and the Director of the Humane Society of the United States; and John Griffin, with 20+ years of field experience in resolving wildlife conflicts and the Senior Director of Urban Wildlife Programs for the HSUS.
Their discussion covered:
- Points to evaluate before helping or intervening that look into the necessity to rescue, the safety of performing the rescue, the plan for the animal to be rescued, and the status of the animal.
- A rundown of the items that must be included in a basic rescue kit and information that must be accessible when responding to a distressed wildlife call.
- The value in reuniting animals that have been separated.
- How to respond in unique and challenges situations that different species may end up in, to either rescue, release, or reunite.
- Skunks that end up separated and in tricky situations due to their poor vision.
- How birds can have their nests blown out.
- Fawns left by the doe in a field that tend to confuse humans into thinking that it is orphaned or abandoned.
- Responding to deers that get stuck in a fence or athletic equipment.
- Safely handling snakes that may end up stuck in structures or inside residences.
- Special considerations for bats that may accidentally get inside structures or have a colony inside the building.
- Attending to geese and ducks that live in urban areas that may end up endangering their young.
- The problem with human garbage management which serves as attractants for smaller wildlife that may end up trapped in garbage bins or stuck in bottles, cans, and other containers.
- Characteristics of man-made structures that inadvertently provides denning and nesting sites for wildlife and inevitably create conflicts between humans and animals.
- How snakes can get through open spaces, plumbing, and broken spots in the foundation.
- How birds, raccoons, and squirrels end up denning, nesting, or trapped in chimneys and stove vents.
- Critical tips when handling and transporting animals.
- Questions to ask to clarify calls and reports from citizens about wildlife.
- How man-made barriers as roads and fences endanger animals and ideas on how to help animals navigate these particularly for turtles and waterfowls.
- Other unique challenges with wildlife and how these were addressed through ingenuity and innovations.
- Crucial tips and techniques for anyone working with wildlife that emphasizes:
- The value of planning to ensure that the animal isn’t harmed, the least amount of restraint is used, and the most humane approach is taken.
- How humans’ demeanor can dictate the reaction of the animal and the outcome of the scenario.
- How extreme weather conditions impact efforts to help an animal in distress.
- The importance of educating the public about the animals and recognizing how to address the root of the conflict with wildlife
Questions from the audience were about:
- Variability of the seasons based on the region.
- The use of tasers on larger animals.
- Coordinating with the US Fish and Wildlife Service when handling protected and endangered species.
- What a clamshell box is.
- Addressing altered or damaged properties caused by the wildlife and human’s attempt to help/rescue them.
Other Webinars with HSUS:
- March 18: Reuniting Orphaned Wildlife
- May 18: Animal Cruelty Investigations and the Fourth Amendment
- June 8: Helping Wild Animals in Distress (this webinar)
- Aug 3: Did They Actually Live Happily Ever After? Debunking Translocation Myths
- Oct 28: Solving Problems with Cougars and Bears
- Nov 11: Preparing for Court: Tips for Effective Testimony about Animal Crimes
Resources and Handouts
- Handout: Humane Wildlife Conflict Resolution Guide
- Handout: Working Reuniting Steps Simple Framework
- Handout: Wildlife Rescue Tips and Techniques