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Wildlife Search and Rescue: A Guide for First Responders



Wildlife Search and Rescue: A Guide for First Responders

Rebecca Dmytryk

ISBN: 978-1-119-95962-5 December 2011 Wiley-Blackwell 200 Pages

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Rescuing wild animals in distress requires a unique set of skills, very different from those used in handling domestic animals. The equipment, degree of handling, the type of caging and level of care a wild animal receives can mean the difference between life and death. Wildlife Search and Rescue is a comprehensive guide on ‘best practices’ and suggested standards for response to sick, injured and orphaned wildlife. This valuable resource covers the fundamentals of wildlife rescue, from ‘phone to field’, including safe and successful capture strategies, handling and restraint techniques and initial aid. Wildlife Search and Rescue is a must have for anyone interested in knowing what to do when they are face to face with a wild animal in need, or for anyone involved in animal rescue. While the book focuses on wildlife native to North America, much of the information and many of the techniques are applicable to other species, including domestic dogs and cats.

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Foreword Jay Holcomb xiii

Preface xvii

1 Overview of wildlife rescue 1

2 Characterizing wildlife search and rescue 3

3 Laws and regulations governing wildlife rescue in the USA 7

4 Code of practice 10

5 The components of wildlife search and rescue 11

Human safety 11

Environmental hazards 11

Human factor hazards 12

Equipment hazards 13

Health risks 13

Zoonotic diseases 15

Bacterial infections 15

Fungal infections 18

Viruses 19

Parasites 19

Personal protective equipment 22

Protection from hazardous materials 24

Basic safety and preparedness guidelines 26

Operational risk management 27

Outfitting 32

The welfare of the animal 34

Understanding stress 35

Minimizing stress during rescue operations 38

Potential for success 40

The mindset of the hunter and the hunted 42

The importance of natural history 42

The fundamentals of the search 43

The fundamentals of the capture 45

6 Anatomy of a response team 52

7 Overview of wildlife capture equipment 55

The towel 55

Herding boards 55

Nets and netting 57

The hoop net 57

The open-ended hoop net 58

The throw net 60

Land seine 60

Mechanical nets 60

Active land seine 60

The bow net and Q-net 61

The whoosh net 62

Driving, funnel, and walk-in traps 63

The dho-gaza 66

Drop traps 66

Cage traps 68

Projectile-powered nets 68

Lures 69

Catchpole 70

8 Capture, handling, and confinement of wild birds 71

Techniques for capturing wild birds 71

Enticing wild birds using lures 71

The Bartos trap 76

Snare-type traps 76

Bal-chatri 76

The phai trap 78

Noose carpets 79

The single snare 79

Leg snare pole 84

Swan hook 85

Pit traps 85

Mist nets 86

On the water 86

Floating gill nets 88

Floating barriers and submersible pens 89

Spotlighting 90

Special circumstances and particular methods 92

Hummingbirds 92

Loons (Gaviiformes) 93

Grebes (Podicipediformes) 94

Rails and coots (Rallidae) 94

Brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) 95

Cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae) 97

Waders 97

Alcids 98

Birds trapped in structures 98

Hummingbirds in skylights 99

Window strikes 100

Ducklings in a pool 100

Birds entangled in fishing tackle 104

Rodenticide poisoning 105

Shot through with a projectile 105

Glue traps 109

Avian botulism 110

Lead poisoning 111

Domoic acid poisoning (DAP) 111

‘‘Sea slime’’ 113

Oil and petroleum products 113

Handling and restraint of wild birds 117

Processing from nets and housing 124

Short-term and temporary housing for wild birds 124

9 Capture, handling, and confinement of land mammals 130

Techniques for capturing wild mammals 130

Chemical immobilization 131

Special circumstances and particular methods 131

Small rodents 131

Large rodents, porcupines, beaver 132

Lagomorphs, rabbits and hares 132

Xenarthrans, anteaters, armadillos 132

Skunks 133

Canids 133

Deer 133

Physical restraint of land mammals 134

Bats 134

Small rodents 135

Talpids, moles and relatives 136

Squirrels 137

Opossums 137

Porcupines 137

Lagomorphs, rabbits and hares 138

Small and medium-sized carnvores 138

Mustelids, badger, otter, weasels 139

Skunks 139

Coyotes and foxes 139

Felids 140

Processing mammals from nets and cages 140

Temporary confinement of land mammals 142

10 Capture and handling of reptiles and amphibians 145

11 Marine mammal rescue 146

Rescuing seals and sea lions 146

Young seals and sea lions 147

Hoop nets 149

Modified open-ended hoop net 149

Wraps, slings, and stretchers 151

The towel wrap 151

Flat webbing cargo net 152

The floating net 153

Physical restraint of seals and sea lions 153

Confinement and transport of pinnipeds 153

Cetaceans 156

12 Basic wildlife first aid and stabilization 158

Performing a cursory physical examination 159

Bleeding 161

Dehydration 161

Fluid therapy 162

Oral fluid administration (mammals) 164

Oral fluid administration (birds) 165

Subcutaneous injections 168

Treating hypothermia 170

Treating Hyperthermia 171

Basic wound care 172

Stabilizing fractures 173

Robert Jones bandage 174

Figure-eight wrap 174

Bird body wrap 176

The ball bandage 176

13 Transporting wildlife 177

14 Field euthanasia 179

15 Life, liberty, and euthanasia 182

16 Rescuing baby birds and land mammals 184

17 Reuniting, re-nesting, and wild-fostering 185

Returning altricial chicks to the wild 187

Returning precocial chicks to the wild 193

Returning baby mammals to the wild 195

Nutritional support 198

18 Offering public service 200

Public relations and the art of shapeshifting 202

Contracting with municipalities 203

Appendix 1 Ready packs 204

Appendix 2 Wildlife observation form 206

Appendix 3 Wildlife trauma equipment and supplies 207

Appendix 4 Instructions for tying nooses 209

Appendix 5 Barn owl box plans and instructions 211

Appendix 6 Sample contract 213

Further reading 220

Index 222

“Wildlife Search and Rescue: A Guide for First Responders is a compact and practical introduction to the considerations and practicalities of wildlife capture . . . I would suggest this text as a companion to the BSAVA Wildlife Manual which provides complementary and more in-depth information on a number of British wildlife species.”  (Animal Welfare, 1 November 2012)

“It will also prove useful for students looking at applied ecology scenarios. And, even for a plant ecologist like me, it is a very good, fascinating read.”  (British Ecological Society Bulletin, 1 August 2012)