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Wildlife Disease Association 68th Annual International Conference (Part 2)

Tahoe City was in bloom and had beautiful weather for the duration of the conference.

The following is the second in a short series of posts from IWRC staff and board members who attended the WDA Conference at Granlibakken Resort in Tahoe City, California USA in August 2019

 

Q&A with Julissa Angius

 

What were your favorite talks/papers?
(in no particular order)

“They’re always there”: Characterizing rat exposure and its consequences among residents of an impoverished, inner-city neighborhood in Vancouver, Canada presented by Dr. Chelsea G. Himsworth

This not not only gave an interesting look at how urban rats live and socialize, it gave commentary on the human aspect of those living around and with the rats. This goes into the human and social inequalities in a rather affluent modern city.

White Abalone (Haliotis sorenseni) resilience in the face of extinction: mitigating disease impacts on endangered abalone in a captive breeding program presented by Ms. Blythe Marshman

Just cool because sometimes you don't think about animals such as these! AND they are going extinct! We just need to be aware of those animals outside of our normal scope.

Integration of Wildlife and Environmental Health into a One Health Approach presented by Dr. Jonathan Sleeman

I am interested on how to integrate the One Health approach into our classes and make it relevant to wildlife rehabilitators. Jonathan is a great speaker and gave some great insight into this subject.

Modeling land-sea transmission of Toxoplasma gondii presented by Dr. Tristan Burgess

Goes into how toxo is transmitted from the land to the sea and those marine creatures affected. Nothing is too big or small to cross-contaminate! Yikes!

Development of a killer whale health database to assess individual and population health of southern resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) presented by Dr. Forrest Gomez

Illustrates how different organizations can work together with some technology to create an amazing tool that is organized and full of detail to track the health of these animals.

Wildlife Morbidity and Mortality Event Alert System

Early detection of health events through temporal anomalies in wildlife admissions at rehabilitation centers presented by Dr. Pranav Pandit

Whoot! Go Rachel and Devin! Excellent study on how rehabilitators can be an alert system to other wildlife professionals through an accessible database for all!  Bringing the 'little people' to the big people table!

 

Did you learn something that wildlife rehabbers should really be aware of or concerned about?

Yes, rehabbers should really invest in going to conferences such as these, not just rehab type conferences, to broaden the mind on what is out there! This is definitely my favorite conference because of its diversity on every level!

 

Were there old friends that you ran into or reconnected with? Did you meet new acquaintances?

Yes! Especially all the IWRC types! We don't get to see each other in person so much and it's so beneficial, socially and work wise!

Definitely got to meet and engage with new people that I never would have outside of this conference!

 

Who did you talk about IWRC or wildlife rehabilitation with that perhaps you would only ever have a chance to talk to at a Wildlife Disease Association event?

There is the lovely forensic veterinarian from the forensic lab in Ashland. The new vice-president of WDA and USGS person Tom DeLiberto.

Wildlife Disease Association 68th Annual International Conference

The following is the first in a short series of posts from IWRC staff and board members who attended the WDA Conference at Granlibakken Resort in Tahoe City, California USA in August 2019

A wildlife lovers dream; a 15 minute stroll from Granlibakken to downtown Tahoe City

I’ve recently returned home from the 2019 Wildlife Disease Association Conference, my first one. I highly recommend this meeting to any academic or disease minded rehabilitator (2020 Spain, 2021 Madison, 2022 Georgia, 2023 Australia). The first keynote, by Dr Pieter Johnson focused on community ecology as a tool for understanding parasite interactions and anticipating disease risk. Traditionally these scientific ways of thinking had little overlap. This talk set an excellent conference tone of collaboration across artificial boundaries and a true One Health view of the world.

The attendees were diverse in field, location, language, and age. I was able to spend time with IWRC staff (Julissa), board (Brooke Durham, Mandy Kamps, Pat Latas), members (several!), and instructor (Rob Adamski) and our NWRA colleagues. I was also able to meet with rehabilitators from South Korea (전북야생동물센터 Jeonbuk Wildlife Center) and Chile (Refugio Animal Cascada) researchers in South Sudan, Bangladesh, India, Norway, and Australia, and bend the ear of regulators in several countries about the benefits of wildlife rehabilitation.

Integrating wildlife rehabilitation data for early and enhanced detection of health threats

It wasn’t just me talking about wildlife rehabilitation, though I certainly did enough of that in the corridors and at meals. Several speakers wove wildlife rehabilitation into their talks, even more obtained data from animals brought in to wildlife rehabilitation. Most thrilling was the work that Terra Kelly, Pranav Pandit and their team did, collaborating with WRMD to create a first of its kind early alert system. With buy-in from multiple California rehabilitators, they integrated with the data wildlife rehabilitators were already entering to see trends in disease that spanned beyond a single rehabilitator. Imagine, 2 murres here, 5 there, another 6 over there, and pretty soon a pattern emerges (or doesn’t).

Wildlife rehabilitation centers are “uniquely poised to advance knowledge of threats to wildlife health and populations"

-Pranav Pandit

My takeaway from the 2019 Wildlife Disease Association Conference “Fostering Resiliency in a Time of Change” was that we need a true One Health approach to disease management for the good of all species, and that wildlife rehabilitation must be a player on the ‘big stage’ of global health.

- Kai Williams, Executive Director 

Words from Pat Latas DVM – IWRC’s newest board member!

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

I’m not sure that there was one experience, I was involved with the natural world from my first memories and before--there is a family photo of me in diapers bent over watching some ants...I suppose the moment I was old enough to recognize another being, looking at and evaluating me as an equal, was when a one-footed crow came to visit our backyard over several years. Who knows how it came about, but my family called him Jack, and he came to recognize his name and often brought friends to visit. As a child, I did not know he was “just a crow”.

How did you initially become involved with IWRC and why did you choose to become involved on a board level?  

In the late 80s and early 90s, only a few years out of vet school, I had the fortune to drop into a position that allowed me to serve as a wildlife veterinarian at an active and progressive wildlife rehabilitation organization. As a field biologist by training, prior to vet school, it was a hole in my professional life that was filled. At the time, I was very concerned about reptile and amphibian standards of care, welfare and rehabilitation methods. IWRC shared the same concerns and was responsive to ideas and suggestions. I was very impressed, and still am. My goal is to participate at board-level in advancing the course and mission of IWRC, to bring my skills and experience to be utilized for the intelligent and scientific advancement of the health, welfare, and well-being of all wildlife in human care.

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

Rescue, rehabilitation and release of wild psittacines and passerines, are of intense interest to me. However, the consequences of anthropogenic damage to habitats, entire ecosystems; the impact of animal trafficking on population status, health, welfare and well-being on individuals, flocks, and of all wildlife and flora requires urgent attention from all of us, regardless of specific interest. Wildlife rehabilitators act as first-responders in this global crisis, and I am dedicated to helping foster data collection, progressive and modern techniques, bridging gaps with other disciplines.

Describe a skill that you have that has been surprisingly useful to your work as a wildlife rehabilitator? (or as an IWRC board member?)

MacGyvering skills (both physical and intellectual) have been of great value, when added to professional and technical training.

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

Bringing awareness of cruelty to wildlife and avians to the professional animal cruelty community.

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

So many people to choose from, and I submit two: Dr. Sylvia Earle and my 3rd-grade teacher, Miss Clothier.

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

I would study terrestrial crabs.

If you could be a wild animal, which would you be?

I would probably be a wild Rosy-faced Lovebird, screaming in the desert. Bossy, matriarchal, loud, obnoxious, stubborn and passionate in defense of friends, family, and conceptual philosophy. I aspire to be other beings but that is likely the truthful representation. I would like to be a sweet, lovely kakapo; but….

What is the thing for which you have waited in line the longest?

I waited more than 5 years to be selected as a nest-minding volunteer for the Kakapo Recovery Team in New Zealand.

What excites you so much that it keeps you awake the night before?

Working with wild psittacine issues of any sort. Planning about how to ameliorate the lack of interest and public knowledge of cruelty to urban wildlife. Thinking about the impact of natural and anthropogenic disasters on rehabbers, rehabilitation facilities, animal and plant populations and ecosystems, and what my personal role can be to greatest effect.

Describe any companion animals that you share your home and life with.

An intense, serious, older wild-caught Timneh African Grey Parrot, about whose life I wonder and I shudder to think of his experiences from a captured and abused chick, through his adulthood in captivity, and various owners. He now is released from slavery and owns himself.

A middle-aged Congo African Grey Parrot, beautiful and sweet. He knows nothing of the wild except what is in his genes.

A middle-aged Lineolated Parakeet, whose grandparents were illegally trafficked into the USA, inbred, and sold as objects.
An intelligent, demanding and personable Blue-crowned Conure.

All of them, and the many birds that have shared my home were the result of confiscation, re-homing, abandonment, relinquishment due to poor health resulting from captivity, adopted from poor conditions, poverty, lack of veterinary funds, ignorance. I wish that each and everyone one of them had been allowed to flourish as the member of a wild flock and unmolested for their natural lifespan. I am dedicated to seeing that this dream will come true for all wildlife.

Case study: methods and observations of overwintering Eptesicus fuscus with White-Nose Syndrome in Ohio, USA

Molly C Simonis 1,2 Rebecca A Crow,2 and Megan A Rúa1

1 Department of Biological Sciences, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio, USA

2 Brukner Nature Center Troy, Ohio, USA

ABSTRACT: Temperate, cave-dwelling bat populations in eastern North America are facing drastic declines due to the emergent disease called White-Nose Syndrome (WNS). In Ohio, USA, wildlife rehabilitators may accept native bats during the winter months when bats are typically hibernating. During the winter months, this deadly fungal infection is the most damaging to individual hibernating, temperate bats’ physical and physiological condition, because the bats are more vulnerable to disease while their immune response is low during hibernation. Here, we provide observations and methods for successful care and release of overwintering bats with WNS. In the winter of 2016, we administered simple topical treatments and visually investigated patterns during the care of nine Eptesicus fuscus, assumed to be infected with Pseudogymnoascus destructans through visual confirmation of orange-yellow fluorescence under ultraviolet light and fungal culture. We developed systematic methods for infected-bat husbandry that led to the successful release of seven of the nine big brown bats treated.

KEYWORDS: bats, Eptesicus fuscus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, WhiteNose Syndrome, wildlife disease, wildlife rehabilitation

Weigh in on the Proposed Revision to the List of Protected Migratory Bird Species, 50 CFR Part 10.13

Good day Rehab Partners,

Just wanted to be sure you were aware of the proposed revision to 50 CFR Part 10.13 The List of Migratory Birds currently appearing in the Federal Register:  https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FWS-HQ-MB-2018-0047-0001

This rule would update the current list of migratory birds protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), based on scientific changes to bird taxonomy (i.e., common names, scientific names, families, etc.) and increase the number of MBTA protected birds to 1085 species.  The list is formulated by the scientific community, specifically the American Ornithologists’ Society’s Checklist of North American Birds (AOU 1998), for species that occur in North America. This list enables the public to know which species are protected and which species are not, thereby preventing confusion and potential conservation and enforcement issues.

Comment period closes on January 28, 2019.

Thank you!

Sincerely,

Resee Collins

USFWS Liaison to IWRC and NWRA
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Migratory Bird Program

2018 USFWS Year End Reports Announcement

It’s that time of year again… Annual Reports of activity for Federal Rehabilitation, Special Purpose Possession and Eagle Exhibition permit are due to your Regional U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Permit Issuing Office postmarked on/by Thursday, January 31, 2019.  If your permit expires March 31, 2019, you may receive an annual report form and renewal letter via regular mail from now through the end of December.

Annual Report Forms are fillable online but still require an original signature and to be submitted via mail to your migratory bird permit issuing office unless your region allows electronic submission through email. Here’s what Regions accept information via email:

  • Regions 1 (Pacific) and 8 (Pacific Southwest) accept emailed Annual Reports, Renewals and Applications
  • Regions 2 (Southwest),  3 (Midwest) and 5 (Northeast) accept emailed Annual Reports
  • Regions 4 (Southeast), 6 (Mountain-Prairie) and 7 (Alaska) do not accept emailed versions of annual reports, renewals or applications

Information for Renewals and about Live Bird Possession.

Any permits that authorize possession of live migratory birds and eagles are renewed based on your facilities for specific numbers and specific species only, and you are not authorized to possess any live birds for educational or other activities other than those listed on your permit.

 

Updated photographs/diagrams of enclosures for housing migratory birds and eagles for display and for rehabilitation purposes, as well as updated information about the individual responsible for the daily care of these migratory birds/eagles, is also required as part of your permit renewal procedure, unless you have submitted this facility information within the past 3-5 years (3 years for Possession/Eagle Exhibition permits; 5 years for Rehabilitation permits).

 

Transfer Form Information.

Instructions for adding/deleting a live bird for Possession or Eagle Exhibition permits are listed on the chart on page 2 on the Migratory Bird Special Purpose Possession (Education) Permit Acquisition & Transfer Request Form 3-202-12, found directly at https://www.fws.gov/forms/3-202-12.pdf.  Please remember that rehabilitators are required to complete this form if they are requesting to transfer a non-releasable migratory bird to an exempt facility or to a Special Purpose Possession permittee for educational purposes, but this form is not required if the bird is being transferred to another federally permitted rehabilitator for continued rehabilitation.

 

Transfer Form and Annual Report Copies.

If you need an extra annual report form copy or if your report form arrives damaged, please look for annual report forms listed under their respective federal permit names in the “REPORT FORMS” section at  https://www.fws.gov/birds/policies-and-regulations/permits/need-a-permit.php

The most common Annual Report types include:

Rehabilitation Form 3-202-4

Special Purpose Possession Live/Dead Form 3-202-5

Eagle Exhibition Form 3-202-13

Additional Annual Report forms for other federal permits including Scientific CollectingSpecial Purpose Salvage, etc. are also included on this website.

 

Permit Questions.

Do you have permit questions or need an address or email for mailing your report?  To contact any Regional Migratory Bird Permit Issuing Office, visit https://www.fws.gov/birds/policies-and-regulations/permits/regional-permit-contacts.php

Miscellaneous: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Permit Applications and Website Revised!

Most links listed here will work through Google, Firefox or other browsers, but may not be accessible through Windows Explorer at this time.

 

Thank you for everything you do to conserve America's wildlife and wild lands!

Sincerely,

Resee Collins
USFWS Liaison to IWRC and NWRA
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Migratory Bird Program

Case study: the use of falconry techniques in raptor rehabilitation

Kristin Madden  1,2 and Matthew Mitchell1

1U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southwest Region, Migratory Birds Program, Albuquerque, NM, USA.

2Wildlife Rescue Inc. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA

ABSTRACT

We predicted that certain falconry techniques would decrease stress and the time required to pre-condition raptors for release. Between 2008 and 2014, we alternated use of traditional rehabilitation procedures with falconry techniques on 45 raptors. Twenty-seven birds were alternately restrained using either a towel or a falconry hood. Results from t-tests showed significant decreases in stress with the use of falconry hoods vs. towels. Twenty-six accipiters and falcons were either held in pet carriers or hooded and perched on falconry blocks. All 14 tethered birds retained excellent feather and cere condition. Of the 12 birds kept in pet carriers, none were in excellent condition and eight showed more than one category of damage. Twentyeight birds were either provided with the traditional cage flight conditioning, flown on a creance, or conditioned through specialized strength building exercises called “Jump-Ups.” An additional three birds were conditioned using a combination of Jump-Ups and creance flight. Cage flight alone required considerably, though not statistically significant, more conditioning time before release in most cases. Creance flight and Jump-Ups were similar in time required for conditioning when used alone. However, a combination of creance and Jump-Ups for three birds required far more time than either method alone.

KEYWORDS: conditioning, creance, falconry, raptors, rehabilitation, wildlife rehabilitation

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!

Tulelake National Wildlife Refuge: Avian botulism outbreak

Bird Ally X is managing an Avian Botulism outbreak on site at the Tulelake National Wildlife Refuge in Northern California and has an immediate need for volunteers to help care for impacted wildlife. Avian botulism is a strain of botulism that affects wild bird populations, most notably waterfowl and is not contagious. This is an opportunity to learn the foundational skills of wildlife rehabilitation and help care for local wildlife by providing supportive care.

Volunteers duties will include rescue transport, handling patients for exam, preparing food, cleaning & preparing enclosures, washing dishes, laundry, and cage construction.

Volunteer requirements:

• Be sensitive to reducing captive wildlife stress

• Be 18 years of age or older • Be in good health.  People who are immune compromised should not work  directly with animals but are welcome to help with transport. 

• Be able to lift 50 lbs.  

• Must wear closed-toe shoes

• Ability to work as part of a team, be positive, fun & have good work ethic


The working conditions are outside and may involve hard physical labor.  Please bring a water bottle and wear clothes you don't mind getting dirty.

If you’re interested in helping some amazing birds. please email John Fitzroy, USF&W Klamath Basin NWRC Visitor Services Manager, john_fitzroy@fws.gov or January Bill, Wildlife Rehabilitator, Bird Ally X @ jb@birdallyx.net

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.