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Wildlife Search and Rescue A Guide for First Responders

by Rebecca Dmytryk

2012 - 228 pages

Table of Contents



  1. Overview of wildlife rescue
  1. Characterizing wildlife search and rescue
  1. Laws and regulations governing wildlife rescue in the USA
  1. Code of practice
  1. The components of wildlife search and rescue

           Human safety

              Environmental hazards

              Human factor hazards

              Equipment hazards

              Health risks

              Zoonotic diseases

                        Bacterial infections

                        Fungal infections



              Personal protective equipment

              Protection from hazardous materials

              Basic safety and preparedness guidelines

              Operational risk management


           The welfare of the animal

        Understanding stress

        Minimizing stress during rescue operations

           Potential for success

        The mindset of the hunter and the hunted

        The importance of natural history

        The fundamentals of the search

        The fundamentals of the capture

6. Anatomy of a response team

7. Overview of wildlife capture equipment

           The towel

           Herding boards

           Nets and netting

        The hoop net

        The open-ended hoop net

        The throw net

           Land seine

           Mechanical nets

        Active land seine

        The bow net and Q-net

        The whoosh net

           Driving, funnel, and walk-in traps

           The dho-gaza

           Drop traps

           Cage traps

           Projectile-powered nets



8.   Capture, handling, and confinement of wild birds

           Techniques for capturing wild birds

Enticing wild birds using lures

The Bartos trap

Snare-type traps


The phai trap

Noose carpets

The single snare

Leg snare pole

Swan hook

Pit traps

Mist nets

On the water

            Floating gill nets

            Floating barriers and submersible pens


           Special circumstances and particular methods


Loons (Gaviiformes)

Grebes (Podicipediformes)

Rails and coots (Rallidae)

Brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)

Cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae)



Birds trapped in structures

Hummingbirds in skylights

Window strikes

Ducklings in a pool

Birds entangled in fishing tackle

Rodenticide poisoning

Shot through with a projectile

Glue traps

Avian botulism

Lead poisoning

Domoic acid poisoning (DAP)

“Sea slime”

Oil and petroleum products

           Handling and restraint of wild birds

           Processing from nets and housing

           Short-term and temporary housing for wild birds

9.   Capture, handling, and confinement of land mammals

           Techniques for capturing wild mammals

        Chemical immobilization

           Special circumstances and particular methods

Small rodents

Large rodents, porcupines, beaver

Lagomorphs, rabbits and hares

Xenarthrans, anteaters, armadillos




           Physical restraint of land mammals


Small rodents

Talpids, moles and relatives




Lagomorphs, rabbits and hares

Small and medium-sized carnivores

Mustelids, badger, otter, weasels


Coyotes and foxes


           Processing mammals from nets and cages

           Temporary confinement of land mammals

10. Capture and handling of reptiles and amphibians

11. Marine mammal rescue

           Rescuing seals and sea lions

           Young seals and sea lions

Hoop nets

Modified open-ended hoop net

Wraps, slings, and stretchers

The towel wrap

Flat webbing cargo net

The floating net

           Physical restraint of seals and sea lions

           Confinement and transport of pinnipeds


12. Basic wildlife first aid and stabilization

           Performing a cursory physical examination



           Fluid therapy

      Oral fluid administration (mammals)

      Oral fluid administration (birds)

      Subcutaneous injections

           Treating hypothermia

           Treating Hyperthermia

           Basic wound care

           Stabilizing fractures

Robert Jones bandage

Figure-eight wrap

Bird body wrap

The ball bandage

13. Transporting wildlife

14. Field euthanasia

15. Life, liberty, and euthanasia

16. Rescuing baby birds and land mammals

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

           Returning altricial chicks to the wild

           Returning precocial chicks to the wild

           Returning baby mammals to the wild

           Nutritional support

18. Offering public service

           Public relations and the art of shapeshifting

           Contracting with municipalities

Appendix 1     Ready packs

Appendix 2     Wildlife observation form

Appendix 3     Wildlife trauma equipment and supplies

Appendix 4     Instructions for tying nooses

Appendix 5     Barn owl box plans and instructions

Appendix 6     Sample contract

Further reading