Webinar presenter Lynsey White answered a number of your questions after her presentation, How Shelters Can Make Policies More Humane for Wildlife. Here are just a few of her responses.
Audience Question: In regard to not euthanizing bats when possible exposure may have occurred, how is that handled with the State Board of Animal Health or the Board of Human Health? We’re required to contain euthanized and send the bat for testing if found in a room of humans that were sleeping.
Lynsey White: That’s a tricky one. We recognize it, of course, you have to abide by the health regulations in your state. We recommend against these policies that require euthanasia when exposure cannot be ruled out. So of course, If there’s to that room where someone has been sleeping then there could have been exposure. We understand that even though in a lot of cases there probably wasn’t but we understand that there could be. In that case, we are not going to argue with that policy because of course human safety is the most important issue here. We’re talking more about we work as an agency that for instance even if they see a bat outside in that tree they have to euthanize it. That’s the kind of thing that we really want to move away from but we also have some partners that have worked with their local health agencies that have really created some great partnerships. I will just go and say that Animal welfare League of Arlington has done a great job with that. They’d be happy to share their experiences there. If you would like to we can get you in touch with them.
Audience Question: How do you recommend that we educate our communities about living in consort or living in harmony with the wildlife in our area? Should we be doing community events, social media, maybe using something like Nextdoor? What do you recommend and what are you seeing other agencies do out there to help educate the population?
Lynsey White: All of those and more. Educating the public is a big job. People get information in different ways. Social media is great for reaching a lot of people but of course, not everyone uses that. Nextdoor is just an emerging resource that a lot of people allows you to know more and more about it and it’s actually a great way to connect to people. Also having actual in-person community events where you are speaking about an issue is really great. A lot of people really enjoy that. Also even using handout materials. If you can send out especially I work a lot with coyote issues so when pup season is coming up that seems to be a time when a lot of (indiscernible 1:03:35). If you can get out a flyer to people in a water bill or maybe if you know that there’s a hotspot area, you can even deliver them door to door. That’s a great way. This takes a lot of manpower but also a lot of agencies that I work with use volunteers for these to go in-person. If there’s a park for example where people can see wildlife and there’s a lot of issues and having volunteers just go out and talk to people about it is really great. I guess my answer is the more ways, the better is best.
Audience Question: What’s the difference between a hard release and a soft release? Can you clarify that?
Lynsey White: A hard release is having an animal in a cage inside the facility and then just simply going and taking them, releasing them into an open area, into the “wild”. A soft release would be putting them in their habitat where they have all the natural resources but they are still confined in some way so that predators can’t get to them.
Audience Question: We should not be trapping. Can you clarify that statement again?
Lynsey White: Yes, I say they should never be trapped but there are some instances that may be necessary. Not having one come to mind right now but there’s always another way to solve that problem. But if trapping is not necessary for some reason then we like the most humane method to be used of course and that animals could be released on site as possible rather than released elsewhere?
Audience Question: How do we know for sure that the companies are truly doing humane trapping techniques? How should we monitor this? Does the HSUS have a testing or certification process? What do you recommend?
Lynsey White: I wish that we have that. We would love to have a certification process. But we don’t. Again, there’s no way to know for sure, so we recommend getting as much information that we can. Talking to customers, if you do refer the public to them, following up with them, to see what actually happen. Doing a ride along if you can. But again, in terms of trapping, we don’t want them to be trapping. So if it’s all possible, we don’t want them trapping at all. We want them to be using a one-way door, a reunion box. They shouldn’t be using a trap at all.
Audience Question: You talked about how many concerns can be addressed by our call-takers and our dispatchers. How do you recommend we train them to take those calls?
Lynsey White: We actually have a training. We have a three-part webinar training where we go through all that. That is available, you can use for your staff. In some cases we can come and do the training in person, it just depends we don’t have a lot of staff or resources right now but sometimes, we can do that. Or we can potentially do a live-webinar. Additionally, we have the manual, which is made as a resource that a person that takes calls have at their desk. They go through the chapters, on squirrels, for example, the go to the conflict that the person has and literally it’s written out as a script so they can tell the person what to do.
Audience Question: We were talking about this before the show but so many of us were told by our parents that if we handled the babies or the young that the mama animal would abandon the young. How is this not true?
Lynsey White: We were talking about this, that is so detrimental to wildlife. Not sure why that started but it is just simply not true that the vast majority of animals. Because wildlife animals are very good mothers. They have a very strong maternal instinct. They’re not simply born to abandon their young because there’s this human scent. So of course while we don’t recommend unnecessary handling the baby wildlife, it’s not going to hurt them. If it’s all possible to use gloves if you’re handling a baby rabbit or a bird, that’s great. But no, we do not find that the mothers will abandon their young. And again I didn’t have a lot of time to go into this detail but we have webinars about this. We have specific instructions on what to do if you find a baby rabbit, how do we unite the rabbit? How do we unite a baby bird? We got each example for specific instructions on how to do that.
Click Here to Watch a Recording of How Shelters Can Make Policies More Humane for Wildlife.