By Kai

Executive Director of The IWRC, Kai is interested in public policy, organizational culture, perceptions of wildlife, and all aspects of human/wildlife interactions. She lives in the hills of Oregon, USA.

Van Doninck Scholarship Open for Applications

June 15, 2020 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE      

[Eugene, Oregon] —

Dr. Helene Marie Van Doninck, is remembered by friends and colleagues as a dedicated, passionate and determined veterinarian, and also as a positive and effective force on behalf of wildlife. She co-founded the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre (CWRC) outside Truro Nova Scotia in 2001. She worked tirelessly to eradicate lead ammunition and tackle for hunting and angling purposes and won support from all sides. Her sense of humor, depth of knowledge, and understanding of people gained her entry to circles that could be otherwise unwelcoming to a veterinarian and avid wildlife rehabilitator, proposing change. Helene’s veterinary and scientific knowledge regarding lead toxicity and the effects on wildlife (especially eagles), persuaded people to make lifestyle changes. Her friendly, non-threatening demeanor when presenting the information, gained their trust as willing partners to protect wildlife and human beings. Her tireless efforts have created an awareness within the hunting and angler community about the dangers of lead ammunition and tackle that was virtually non-existent until she began her work to eradicate them.

The wildlife rehabilitation community has come together to remember Helene by creating and contributing to a fund which supports public education. IWRC is pleased to manage this fund on behalf of the larger community.

Purpose of Scholarship: To support attendance at conferences or other opportunities in order to learn or present on an aspect of public education as related to wildlife rehabilitation

Funded by: Donations from the community

Application Cycle: Annual. Open June 1 – August 31st. Awardee(s) announced at IWRC’s Annual Membership Meeting.

Award Amount: $50-300

Application Review: A panel of 2 board members, 2 staff members, and 1 community member will convene each Autumn to review applications and select the awardee.

Review Application Requirements

Apply for the 2020 Helene Van Doninck Memorial Scholarship

Applications close August 31, 2020

This year is anything but normal. IWRC staff and governance feels that providing support for public outreach is especially needed. You may not be able to attend a physical event, but public outreach goes far beyond the standard conference.

IWRC + NWRA Statement on Wildlife Rehabilitation During COVID-19

June 8, 2020        

JOINT STATEMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE      

[Eugene, Oregon]

The National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association (NWRA) and The International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (IWRC) find that taxa-specific protocols, based on scientific evidence and region-specific risk assessments, should serve as the basis for an informed approach to managing the risk of disease spread and for formulating any restrictions on wildlife rehabilitation. 

“Wildlife rehabilitation plays an important role in managing human-wildlife interactions. This management, which includes appropriate human and animal health monitoring, becomes more important during a global pandemic like COVID-19” states IWRC executive director Kai Williams.

The IWRC and NWRA are international not-for-profit organizations based in the United States, with memberships extending to Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and India. Our 2,000+ members include wildlife veterinarians and rehabilitators, wildlife biologists, animal behaviorists, government officials, and academicians from institutions across the world. Our members provide expertise in wildlife conservation and welfare, often at the forefront of where humans and wild animals interact.

 

POSITION STATEMENT

COVID-19 Considerations for Wildlife Rehabilitation

 

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Media Contacts:

Kai Williams, Executive Director, The IWRC Office:  (866) 871-1869 x1 Email:  director@theiwrc.org 

Lisa Smith, President, NWRA Email: president@nwrawildlife.org

The International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council

The IWRC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through training and resources on wildlife rehabilitation. The organization’s mission statement “We provide evidence-based education and resources on wildlife rehabilitation to move the field of wildlife rehabilitation forward; to promote wildlife conservation and welfare; and to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts worldwide, through better understanding of wild animal ecology, behavior, and welfare.” Wildlife rehabilitation is the act of providing temporary care for injured, sick or orphaned wildlife with the goal of releasing them back into the wild. By providing unique insights into issues affecting wildlife populations, species, and habitats, wildlife rehabilitation contributes to wildlife conservation and welfare worldwide.

 

National Wildlife Rehabilitation Association

The NWRA was born in 1982 at the first National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association Symposium in Naperville, Illinois. The rich diversity of expertise and interest represented at the symposium provided a firm foundation for a national organization designed to meet the needs of wildlife rehabilitators. As the mission statement says , NWRA is “dedicated to improving and promoting the profession of wildlife rehabilitation and its contributions to preserving natural ecosystems.”

Happy Volunteer Appreciation Week!

We have them, we know them, we love them, and most of us even are them… Volunteers make up the lifeblood of our wildlife rehab operations. Without them? Well… we don’t even want to go there. They help us with anything and everything from cleaning to caring for our patients to medical procedures. They even help with the admittedly less-than-fun administrative tasks including fundraising, event planning, and management!

Whether they are nurses, lawyers, contractors, pilots, or teachers, with us they are amazing supporters of our work and our wildlife patients. Some may even think of it as the great equalizer; we all, in some way or another, end up cleaning feces and urine out of our clothing, scrapping it out of enclosures, or searching for the diet items for those rare species we sometimes get in.

 

Though this year, along with other challenges, is quite different. We aren’t able to give the usual in-person smiles, hugs, potlucks, appreciation dinners, or customized gifts to our volunteers (at least, not yet!). COVID-19 has affected all of us to a great extent, yet, throughout this difficult time, our volunteers continue to be more dedicated than ever to our cause.

Nonetheless, we cannot express how much we care about and appreciate our many volunteers who make our every day work possible. IWRC is sending out a virtual hug to our volunteers and all wildlife rehabilitation volunteers. Thank you for all that you do!

IWRC and NWRA Oppose Changes to Migratory Bird Treaty Act

March 6, 2020        

JOINT STATEMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE      

[Eugene, Oregon]

Button saying take actionThe National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association (NWRA) and the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (IWRC) are writing to comment on the scope of Opinion M-37050 (M opinion) proposed by the DOI US Fish and Wildlife Service (the Service). The M opinion on the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) interprets the take of a migratory bird, its nest, or eggs that is incidental to another lawful activity as not in violation of the MBTA, and that the MBTA’s criminal provisions do not apply to those activities.

The IWRC and NWRA are international not-for-profit organizations based in the United States, with memberships extending to Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and India. Our 2,000+ members include wildlife veterinarians and rehabilitators, wildlife biologists, animal behaviorists, government officials, and academicians from institutions across the world. Our members provide expertise in migratory bird conservation and welfare, often at the forefront of where humans and wild animals interact.

NWRA and the IWRC commend the Service for their work in the delivery of the vision of those who enacted the MBTA. The achievements seen over the past 100 years of guidance by the Service on this foundational bird conservation law are well-documented. The increased numbers and distribution of many species—including snowy egrets, peregrine falcons, California condors, brown pelicans, and Kirtland’s warblers—once threatened with extinction, are success stories of which the Service should be duly proud. The bald eagle is a fine example; a species with a success story that is recognized by every American. The bald eagle has been allowed to recover and recolonize much of its former territory, so that it is now a common sight in many areas where it had once been extirpated.

The benefits from reasonable enforcement of the MBTA have resulted in protections leading to population recovery and benefits for the communities in which these birds live. The Service recognizes the financial benefits provided by wildlife tourism1. Data collected on the economic benefits of wildlife tourism, and birdwatching in particular, show that:

  • 45 million people watch birds around their homes or elsewhere. Wildlife watchers contribute $80 billion to the US economy;
  • Birders spend $41 billion annually on trips and equipment, with local communities benefiting to the tune of $14.9 billion, with 666,000 jobs being created in one year (2011).
  • One example is the $300 million contribution made by wildlife tourism to the Rio Grande Valley economy, leading to economic benefits in terms of income and jobs for the communities in that area.
  • Birds also consume 98% of certain insect pests, resulting in benefits to farming communities.

While wild birds have inherent value, we recognize that they are also an important economic and social driver, engaging people with nature and the environment. The 2009 State of the Bird Report, issued by the U.S. Committee of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI), of which US Fish & Wildlife Service is a report partner, stated that “[B]irds are bellwethers of our natural and cultural health as a nation—they are indicators of the integrity of the environments that provide us with clean air and water, fertile soils, abundant wildlife, and the natural resources on which our economic development depends…It is imperative that we redouble our efforts now, before habitat loss and degradation become even more widespread, intractable, and expensive to solve.2 The 2016 State of the Birds report states that conservation success requires that policies be “…based on sound science” in order to “implement effective on-the-ground conservation actions.3 IWRC and NWRA support these statements.

The proposed changes to the MBTA threaten to undo these important, hard-earned successes. The Service’s long history of minimizing risk to migratory birds through the development of guidelines and best practices has been key to reducing sources of bird mortality. Incidental take through destruction of nesting habitats without the requirement of alternative sites being made available threatens to reduce the breeding success of many species and could result in some extinctions, with long-term ecological consequences. The removal of adult birds and/or nests with young will have welfare impacts for these animals, leading to species declines. 

The destruction of nesting and roosting areas without requiring replacements to be created will likely result in a reduction in sites where these birds can be seen. This will have negative consequences for local community businesses that depend on wildlife tourism and result in a loss of income and jobs in areas where alternative employment is limited.

Wildlife veterinarians and rehabilitators see the direct impact on wildlife populations in our work. The impact to the wildlife rehabilitation community will also be great. The M-opinion has already increased the number of otherwise healthy birds admitted to rehabilitation facilities due to the destruction of nests or roosting areas, such as the 101 young cliff swallows presented to wildlife rehabilitators for care after their nests were destroyed during a single bridge renovation in Wisconsin in the summer of 2019. We anticipate this trend will continue and perhaps further increase as federal executive administration documents show that even voluntary mitigation is being discouraged.

The 2019 State of the Birds report4 records population declines in many species, and the peer-reviewed paper, Decline of the North American Avifauna by Rosenberg, et al,5 shows that declines are not restricted to rare and threatened species—many species once considered common and widespread are also diminished.

The threats birds encounter today—rapid industrialization and habitat loss—are not those faced by birds when the MBTA was adopted. The M-opinion no longer requires bird deaths to be reported to the Service, functionally eliminating the ability to measure the impacts of the rule change. The scale and extent of the impact of the M-opinion will be largely unknown. 

By reducing the protection of our native wild birds, the proposed rulemaking will add to their decline. The role of the Service and the MBTA is to protect the precious resource of wild birds; the M-opinion and its codification into law reverses this protection, placing bird populations at higher risk.

The NWRA and IWRC are opposed to the proposed MBTA rule-making change due to the negative impacts it will have on wild birds, their habitat, and the communities that value birds as a critical natural resource. We ask you to consider these comments as part of the review and we would be happy to discuss this further, if that would be of assistance.

 

 

 

Lisa Smith                                   Adam Grogan

President NWRA                         President IWRC

Button saying take action

 

 

 

References

1  https://www.fws.gov/birds/bird-enthusiasts/bird-watching/valuing-birds.php

2 https://archive.stateofthebirds.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/State_of_the_Birds_2009.pdf

3 https://www.stateofthebirds.org/2016/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/SoNAB-ENGLISH-web.pdf

4 https://www.stateofthebirds.org/2019/

5 Rosenberg et al, 2019 https://science.sciencemag.org/content/366/6461/120

 

 

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Media Contacts:

Kai Williams, Executive Director, The IWRC Office:  (866) 871-1869 x1 Email:  director@theiwrc.org 

Lisa Smith, President, NWRA Email: president@nwrawildlife.org

The International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council

The IWRC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through training and resources on wildlife rehabilitation. The organization’s mission statement “We provide evidence-based education and resources on wildlife rehabilitation to move the field of wildlife rehabilitation forward; to promote wildlife conservation and welfare; and to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts worldwide, through better understanding of wild animal ecology, behavior, and welfare.” Wildlife rehabilitation is the act of providing temporary care for injured, sick or orphaned wildlife with the goal of releasing them back into the wild. By providing unique insights into issues affecting wildlife populations, species, and habitats, wildlife rehabilitation contributes to wildlife conservation and welfare worldwide.

 

National Wildlife Rehabilitation Association

The NWRA was born in 1982 at the first National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association Symposium in Naperville, Illinois. The rich diversity of expertise and interest represented at the symposium provided a firm foundation for a national organization designed to meet the needs of wildlife rehabilitators. As the mission statement says , NWRA is “dedicated to improving and promoting the profession of wildlife rehabilitation and its contributions to preserving natural ecosystems.”

IWRC works to support to wildlife carers affected by Australian bushfires

January 14, 2020        

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE        

[Eugene, Oregon]

As animal lovers across the world collect veterinary supplies to send animal rescue organisations in Australia, the IWRC is working with Gather Voices and the National Wildlife Rehabilitation Council to collect messages of support for those working to rescue wild animals caught in the Australia bush fires.

In the wake of the devastating fires in Australia an outpouring of support has come from the international community. From large scale organizations collecting veterinary supplies, to individuals donating funds to the animal rescue organizations in Australia, support for injured and displaced wildlife has been profound. The International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (IWRC) is lending support by collecting messages of support for those working to rescue wild animals caught in the Australia bush fires.

The IWRC’s President Adam Grogan stated 

We have reached out to wildlife rehabilitators in Australia to offer any support that we can help with at this difficult time. They have replied saying that all messages of support are gratefully welcome. So we are working with local schools in Eugene to provide thank you cards and partnering with Gather Voices to solicit video messages of support. Our members are also working to gather cards globally in order to send as much support as we can.

According to executive director, Kai Williams 

Rehabilitators all over the world have been reaching out to help; people are heartbroken at the images of dead animals and the enormous swaths of land burned. They are looking ahead and realizing this isn’t a short term problem. The after effects of these fires will dictate our Australian colleagues’ work over the next few months and years and the messages or support are necessary to keep them motivated. Remembering that there is all this love for Australian wildlife all over the globe, is a great motivator.

Adam Grogan explains, “We all share a passion and dedication for wild animal welfare and we have felt inspired to stand with wildlife rehabilitators at the other side of the world. Our colleagues in Australia are enormously grateful for the international support and it has helped many of us feel a bit more hope in this dark time.” 

Dr Andrew Peters, a lecturer in veterinary pathology at Charles Sturt University also stresses “It is really really important that the world knows that these fires are not normal. Areas that should only burn once a century are burning again after only 15 years, the scale and intensity of the fires has never been seen before, and even areas of rainforest that have not burnt in more than 1500 years have burnt during this crisis.”

The IWRC urges anyone wanting to help, to donate to one of the many fundraising appeals that have been set up in Australia.

As much as 30% of the koala population on the New South Wales mid-north coast along with 30% of their habitat has been destroyed. There have been similar levels of destruction in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.The destruction of habitats means that not only have many wild animals been displaced, injured or killed in this catastrophe, many more will starve over the next few months due to lack of food and water. It is estimated that one billion animals may have died in wildfires.

Queensland wildlife carer Linda Barret “I believe the next few months will be especially challenging in relation to mass starvation which we have already experienced in flying fox colonies due to drought and which will be compounded by the fires.”

Our thoughts are with those dedicated animal carers battling each day to help rescue and rehabilitate the animal victims of this tragedy.

Dr Peters emphasises “the most important thing the international community can do, is recognise this for what it is – it is our climate change future, and to take individual and community action now to prevent a much worse future for all of us, including the wildlife that we share this planet with.”

#

Notes to Editors:

Readers, please join us or start your own campaign.

How you can help:

Create a video message of support to the wildlife carers in Australia. https://gathervoices.gv-one.com/?gId=1133&rId=3125

Write a letter/card, facilitate a letter writing campaign with youth, or donation cards. More info on our letter campaign

We encourage people to donate to the affected wildlife centers. We’ve compiled a partial list and add to it as we are made aware of fundraisers. However we have not independently verified their qualifications.

Message guidelines:

  • Be encouraging and/or thankful
  • Please stay positive (these people are surrounded by devastation and need a boost!)
  • Address them generally (For example Dear Wildlife Carers in Australia; To our friends in Australia etc.).
  • Add personal touches, have fun, and be creative!

 

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Media Contact: Kai Williams, Executive Director Office:  (866) 871-1869 Email:  director@theiwrc.org 

The International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council

The IWRC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through training and resources on wildlife rehabilitation. The organization’s mission statement “We provide evidence-based education and resources on wildlife rehabilitation to move the field of wildlife rehabilitation forward; to promote wildlife conservation and welfare; and to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts worldwide, through better understanding of wild animal ecology, behavior, and welfare.” Wildlife rehabilitation is the act of providing temporary care for injured, sick or orphaned wildlife with the goal of releasing them back into the wild. By providing unique insights into issues affecting wildlife populations, species, and habitats, wildlife rehabilitation contributes to wildlife conservation and welfare worldwide.

 

Gather Voices

Gather Voices makes it effortless to dramatically increase the amount of video that organizations create and share, with an intuitive set of software solutions that automate the creation, management and publishing of video – plugging seamlessly into existing technology.  Gather Voices’ purpose is to strengthen human relationships for organizations; one video, one community, at a time. Learn more and schedule a demo at www.gathervoices.co

IWRC Australia Letter Writing Campaign

The issue: As you may know, the wildfires in Victoria, New South Wales, and Western Australia have consumed large areas and devastated local wildlife populations in the millions — with estimates of the animal death toll at over a billion individuals. Wildlife rehabilitators are working tirelessly to triage, aid, and hopefully rehabilitate these animals. This work is challenging because of the sheer volume of animals and limited resources. It is also emotionally overwhelming to see such death and destruction, to lose many patients or not be able to get to animals in time.

 

What can we do?: The IWRC aims to support those on the ground in Australia with a morale boosting campaign. We are soliciting letters from youth (or anyone wishing to participate) to send to the rehabilitators, vets, and wildlife workers in Australia. This is a simple act but one that may make a significant difference for those dealing with this crisis first hand.

 

How you can help:

Write a letter/card, facilitate a letter writing campaign with youth, or donate cards or shipping.

Create a video message of support to the wildlife carers in Australia.

Donate to the affected wildlife centers (list of centers needing support)

Letter writing guidelines:

  •     Be encouraging and/or thankful
  •     Please stay positive (these people are surrounded by devastation and need a boost!)
  •     Address them generally (For example Dear Wildlife rehabilitators in Australia; To our friends in Australia etc.).
  •     Add personal touches, have fun, and be creative!

 

Delivery Instructions: The IWRC will send all physical letters in bulk. If you are located near our office location (anywhere in Eugene Oregon) we may be able to pick them up. Otherwise they can be mailed to PO Box 3197 Eugene, OR 97403. If you have digital items to send please email them to office@theiwrc.org.

 

Delivery times: We will send the first batch of letters on Thursday, January 16th. Thereafter we will send them out on Thursdays, dates TBD.

If you have questions please feel free to email office@theiwrc.org or call 866.871.1869

Spotlight on Aya Cockram

Aya joined the IWRC staff on December 2nd, 2019.
You can find short bio’s on each of our staff members here!

Q&A with Aya:Staff member Aya Cockram standing in front of a waterfall.

Please share an early/childhood experience that was pivotal to your personal relationship to wildlife.

When I was twelve years old my neighbor rescued a baby squirrel from the jaws of her dog. She gave the little one to me and my parents to care for. The process of researching squirrel care, building her an environment, getting to enjoy her presence and then, the bittersweet experience of releasing her had a significant impact on me during a formative moment in my life. It helped me comprehend that wild (or domestic) creatures, and the natural world itself, has an intrinsic value completely distinct from human valuations. At the same time we all live within systems that inextricably connect us. The act of rehabilitating a creature that, hopefully, will never look back upon its release, seems a significant way to respect their value and those systems upon which we all depend. 

 

How did you initially become involved with IWRC?

The first time I encountered the IWRC was through the job posting for my current position. I was immediately drawn to the blend of wildlife protection and education and love the office culture and passion of the employees! 

 

Describe a specific area of interest or a particular passion within the scope of IWRC’s mission.

I have a great affinity for bioregionalism which, among many other things, asserts that knowing ones bioregion not only allows us to live within our environments in an informed way but also creates a deep sense of belonging to a physical place. This knowledge and sense of belonging is believed to naturally lead to pro-environmental behavior. I view the IWRC’s focus on education and their work to continually build on the field of wildlife rehabilitation as critical for improving the welfare of individual wild animals. However, this educational component also creates an important awareness and an ethic of care that is much needed given the current climate and extinction crises. 

 

Describe a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.

I am particularly proud of what some of my past students have accomplished. One such student cited my Islam and Nature course as an important factor in her decision to pursue a JD in environmental law. Another student from the Environmental Ethics course I TA-ed went on to become a prominent member of the Sunrise Movement and was very informed by this course as well. These are not my accomplishments but they make me feel incredibly fulfilled and part of something larger. I love working in education because you never know how your work will affect your students, they can go on to do things you yourself could not have imagined. 

 

If you could choose, who would you have as a mentor?

Aldo Leopold! Leopold is a particularly incredible conservation trailblazer because of the ecocentric view of the world he developed and that he was able to do so long before others came to the same conclusions. Through his writing Leopold is able to uncannily express what I feel but cannot myself put into words. Besides all this, he was a dedicated parent and partner, a knowledgeable forester, scientist, and conservationist!

A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise”

– Leopold, A Sand County Almanac, 262

IWRC staff member Aya in a red sweater sitting on a dune in sunllight

 

If you were to do something else professionally, what would it be?

While going to school I really enjoyed my research studying Muslim and Islamic environmentalists in Senegal. Although I ultimately don’t see myself as an academic, I still think it would be amazing to continue that research and write a book on the topic.

 

2019 Board Updates

IWRC’s annual board and officer elections are complete. Breakdown of the results:

 

Member Election Results

Jayanthi Kallam *new board member

Pat Latas *new board member

Dani Nicholson (reelected)

Board Appointed Individuals

Deborah Galle *new board member

Kristen Heitman (reelected)

Mandy Kamps (reelected)

Ashraf NVK (reelected)

Officer Positions

Adam Grogan has moved from his previous post as to president-elect to President and Sue Wylie our previous president has left the board after serving her full time allotment.

Our other officer positions remain the same as 2018 with Mandy Kamps – vice-president, Kristen Heitman – secretary, Dani Nicholson – treasurer.

 

Meet all our 2019 full board of directors

Call for Comments and Suggestions

Minimum Standards for Wildlife Rehabilitation

The National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association (NWRA) and the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (IWRC) are starting the process of revising the fourth edition of Minimum Standards for Wildlife Rehabilitation (MSWR). Both organizations wish to get input from as many people as possible—rehabilitators, veterinarians, governing agencies, and others directly involved in the rehabilitation of wildlife.

The primary goal of MSWR is to improve the welfare of wildlife in rehabilitation. We aim to continue to add to and improve upon the information in the book for the benefit of all rehabilitators and the wildlife in their care.

In order to understand the current use of MSWR and then to improve the document as much as we can, we would like your input! You can do this by filling out the Survey Monkey form (specifically, question #4, but please complete the entire survey!) found at:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BRNB92P

Please submit any and all changes or additions you feel should be addressed. All suggestions are reviewed thoroughly and considered seriously. Input can include suggested edits to the current edition, additions or deletions to existing material, or new text suggestions that would add to the foundation of knowledge in this book.

So that we may organize everyone’s input, please follow the format listed below.

For each comment or suggestion, please give:

  • Chapter number and title, and the edition to which you are referring (if applicable)
  • Your input; be as descriptive and complete as possible
  • If applicable, list data, resources, references, and reasons supporting your input

Suggestions and thoughts are welcomed through November 30, 2018, after which time the editors are at work evaluating every comment received and working on the fifth edition.

Thank you for your comments. Your commitment to wildlife in need and to furthering the science and standards of wildlife rehabilitation are greatly appreciated!

Intent Not Result—Drives US Migratory Bird Treaty Act Interpretation

Part I (March 2018)

On December 22, 2017, the US Department of the Interior released a new interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), which does not prohibit incidental take. In addition, the US House of Representatives introduced a bill in November (HR 4239) which similarly removes protections from animals affected by the energy industry (oil spills, turbine issues, etc).

Read more about both initiatives courtesy of the American Bird Conservancy and learn about actions you can take.

Listen to Bye, Bye, Birdies? a 35 min podcast where several experts discuss the MBTA and the changes.

Part II (May 2018)

US rehabilitators may recall the recent reinterpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) that we reported on this Winter. It is no longer the result of an activity, but instead its intent that matters in regards to the MBTA. Stated plainly if birds, eggs, or nests are destroyed by an activity, but the purpose of that activity was not to destroy the birds, eggs, or nests, then the MBTA does not apply.

Wildlife rehabilitators in the US should be aware of this change when speaking to the public about legal interactions with wildlife. Unfortunately, the presence of a nesting bird no longer means it is against the law to take down a building. We can still counsel the public on best practices, and encourage them to act in the animal’s interest, but we cannot say the action is illegal if the purpose is not to kill the bird(s). To help wildlife professionals navigate this new interpretation the USFWS has kindly issued a 7-page memorandum.

Additional communications are expected this summer regarding wildlife rehabilitation specific guidance.

In the meantime, IWRC is interested in hearing how this interpretation is affecting the day to day work of US rehabilitators.