Humane Wildlife Capture and Handling: Advanced Techniques for Success

Humane Wildlife Capture and Handling: Advanced Techniques for Success
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Resources
Recorded on: 2019-12-03
Unit 1 Slide Deck: Humane Wildlife Capture and Handling
Unit 2 Workbook: Humane Wildlife Capture and Handling
Unit 3 Recording: Humane Wildlife Capture and Handling

Humans and animals are supposed to coexist but somewhere along human civilization, some of these animals were considered nuisance. Fortunately, innovative and humane practices are being utilized to resolve the conflict and come up with ways to ensure that both humans and wildlife mutually benefit in it.

The Humane Society of the United States’ (HSUS) Dave Pauli is this session’s instructor. He is currently the Director of the HSUS and is also a field responder. His career in animal care and wildlife rescue goes back four decades through his business, Humane Animal Controls, Inc. and has served as a Superintendent of Animal Control (Billings Animal Shelter) and Director of bi-county Humane Society in Eastern Washington (Tri-Cities).

Dave will unpack protocols and best practices – specifics mentioned on this course include:

  • Understanding why capture and handling are unnecessary in some, if not most, situations.
  • Addressing the root of the problem by probing the reason why wildlife is specifically going to your yard.
  • The concepts of rescue and translocation and examples and demonstrations of how these can be done with porcupines, beavers, coyotes, and bears.
  • Implementing an Urban Wildlife Task Force that would allow a holistic and comprehensive approach to addressing wildlife issues.
  • Defining what is humane based on three primary factors to consider.
  • An example that examines the three factors in the case of a rhinoceros that is being moved from one property to another.
  • Maintaining the wildlife’s fight/flight distance and comfort zone when approaching them to relieve pressure and stress that can lead to aggressive behavior.
  • The six general handling goals prescribed.
    • Using the least amount of restraint, the equipment and methods to ensure this, and a look into the continuum of restraint to follow when working with wildlife.
    • Giving the animal choices by allowing it time for decisions, providing safe options, utilizing rewards and the low-soft-slow approach.
    • Thinking outside of the box and beyond capturing the animal.
    • Developing long-term and sustainable solutions that include educating people and controls animals from multiplying.
    • Planning for the worst-case scenario by having the necessary resources, services, and manpower available if necessary.
    • Maximizing the gift by ensuring that the stress the animal was subjected to when it was moved yields positive results.
  • Minimizing the stress that animals are subjected to, understanding the various elements that generate stress and how to reduce, if not prevent it.
  • Guidelines on animal handling and equipment.
    • Items that must be in any animal control or wildlife rescue’s grab bag.
    • Utilizing worry toys to distract the animal, prevent injuries, and also serve as a lure or reward.
    • Using Trail Cameras to better understand what and how many animals are involved, as well as how to best resolve the conflict.
    • Other equipment as volume colony traps, nets, and live traps.
    • Knowledge of how to best handle animals with the least likelihood of injury for both animals and humans.
  • Other factors to consider as having a plan in place that considers the animals’ behavior and conditions, the weather, and the trap.
  • Some of the topics raised during the Q&A segment were:
    • Survival of animals after releasing to wild or rehabilitation.
    • Why it isn’t recommended to use catchpoles on wildlife.
    • What capture myopathy is.
    • The public’s need for education.
    • Finding organizations that would benefit from ‘maximizing the gift’.
    • Handling deers whose antlers are tangled in netting.


Audience Comments

  • “Consider various deterrents other than trapping to remove when dealing with nuisance wildlife issues.” — Cedar
  • “Great reminders of knowledge and great new suggestions, thank you low slow soft.” 🙂 — Cindi
  • “Great to have a real expert with real experience discussing the topic. …This presenter OBVIOUSLY had real experience, and his “go slow” approach is SO very applicable in not only animal/wildlife situations but also stressful human interactions. He would make a great presenter in de-escalation, use of force too.” — Daniel
  • “Dave’s experience was extremely valuable and well presented for the length. Appreciated the “Worry Toy” bit offered a simple solution to common issue we see daily. Thanks!” — Jacob
  • “The best webinar I have had and I learned a lot. I am on an Indian reservation and this is so helpful to me.” — Kendyl
  • “Humble experienced individuals who have common sense yet humane practices as Dave Pauli expressed- some things can’t be ‘taught’ in a book or class but rather shared through stories & field experiences. Thank you!” — Danielle
  • “Fascinating presenter! One of the most compassionate role models I’ve heard in a long time re HOW to treat wildlife humanely. Well done.” — Renata
  • “Tremendous presentation. It could have easily been 4 hours. Great overview. His personal wildlife trapping tips were invaluable. More Dr. Pauli would be great.” — DAVID



View our Animal Welfare Webinar  Schedule and Recordings



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.





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