Home » Uncategorized

From Uncategorized

Self-Caring During COVID-19

As COVID-19 (Coronavirus) continues to spread, it can be a stressful and daunting time. Especially as the baby season is here for some and closely around the corner for others. Many of us have had to temporarily remove volunteers from our workforce, while balancing more-so limited funds and an increased workload. However, we must always make time for ourselves. Without caring for ourselves, we simply cannot care for others. Wildlife needs you to practice self-care!

1. Get some air.

As of now, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is still saying it is OK for healthy individuals to go outside – as long as they practice social distancing (staying at least an eagle’s wingspan away from others; at least 6 feet). Confirm with your local authorities that such activity is still acceptable. Safely get outside and get some fresh air!

2. Leave work, at work (we know… it’s hard!).

Even if you rehabilitate out of your home, it is always possible to put work aside when you are done. Creating this mental separation between work and home has significantly helped significantly with productivity and mental health (Source). Consider looking at a recently-published resource: Going Home Checklist.

3. Schedule your self-care time.

This may sound silly, but having regularly scheduled blocks of time can help ensure you are saving time for yourself. Though we aren’t accustomed to anything ‘regular’ or ‘scheduled’ in our field, the importance of having ‘you time’ cannot be understated. Whether you block off a day of the week, an hour a day, or whether you take that time to take a bath, go for a run, spend time with a loved one, or read, it is imperative you have time to focus on you!

4. Social Distancing, or Physical Distancing?

Stay connected with loved ones, family, friends, and colleagues! Just because you have to stay physically away from each other doesn’t mean you can’t be social, take advantage of free video chat software such as Google Hangouts or FaceTime to communicate with each other, continue to hold meetings, and continue safely seeing your friends and family!

5. Consider talking with someone

Ask for help or seek professional advice. Thanks to advancements in technology, telemedicine is an emerging field – one which is especially valuable during this time with stay-at-home orders. There are many services that are covered by health insurance, as well as low-cost services for mental health available to you at your convenience and budget.

Some examples of these services include…
Emergencies: 911
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 to talk to a counselor
BetterHelp (licensed psychologists): https://www.betterhelp.com/
Doctors on Demand (licensed medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists): https://www.doctorondemand.com/what-we-treat/behavioral-health

The Cost of Self-Deployment:

Deciding how to help during the Australian Brush Fires (and other similar emergencies) 

Since news of the devastating Australia bush fires broke in late December there has been an outpouring of support as well as a wave of global horror and sorrow. For many, including those involved in wildlife rehabilitation or care, this crisis evokes a strong need to contribute or help the animals affected by the fires. This altruistic urge is not surprising as many people feel a strong connection to the wildlife of Australia because it is so unique, with many species that are imperiled or endangered.  Others have useful skills that are relevant to the situation and this disaster may also be viewed as a rare opportunity to physically do something in the face of more impalpable or seemingly insurmountable problems such as climate breakdown and the extinction crisis. Some have chosen or are considering making the journey to Australia, to offer their support in the form of on-the-ground assistance. While this might be the logical choice for a few, in many cases, and despite the best intentions, this decision may hurt more than it helps. The IWRC urges all of those considering self-deployment to assist with wildlife care in Australia to weigh the cost and benefits of such an action and think about alternative ways to help.

The first costs to consider are monetary ones. According to an article in the Harvard Political Review, “Can Help Hurt?”, the price of volunteering abroad may outweigh the amount of help you are able to provide. The article offers an example of a child care volunteering opportunity in Rio. In this case they calculate that the money spent on three days of volunteering was the equivalent of the cost of 4 months of schooling for one child 1. In many cases, the money a person might pay out for housing, food, insurance, and transportation would go further as a donation. Much of the actual money being spent is paying for the experience of the person volunteering rather than the needs of those they aim to help. 

 Other costs to consider are the environmental ones. This is of particular relevance as the scientific evidence points to climate change as a definitive factor in the severity and scope of these Australian fires.  As stated in an article by Yu, Pei, et al., “The ongoing bushfires (wildfires) have confirmed researchers’ warnings several years ago about increasing bushfires due to climate change in Australia”2. Lecturer in veterinary pathology Dr. Andrew Peters averred, “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”3. With this in mind, it is important to acknowledge the carbon cost of a flight to Australia as well as the use of currently scarce resources upon arrival. The carbon calculator on myclimate.org estimates that a roundtrip flight from the IWRC office in Oregon to Sydney produces 4.4 tons of C02 per passenger4– that is only slightly less than the average emissions of a passenger vehicle for the entire year of 2019 at 4.63 tons5. Although there may be compelling reasons to get on that plane, we must also decide if doing so coheres with the need to mediate a “climate change future” like Dr. Peters describes. 

The final cost to consider is the potential toll international relief work can have on local populations. In Ilan Kelman and Rachel Dodds’ paper “Developing a Code of Ethics for Disaster Tourism”, they highlight the importance of only offering assistance and donations with the local context in mind. They stress that, “in a disaster-affected location, any additional people further tax a community”6. Kelman and Dodds convey that emergency workers discourage self-deployment because of safety hazards, reduced accountability and because it diverts scarce resources, even when volunteers are qualified to help (282). It is for these and other reasons that organizations such as the Red Cross have created codes of conduct for international or Non-Governmental Organizations in disaster relief situations. The sixth code of conduct item in their document states “All people and communities – even in disaster – possess capacities as well as vulnerabilities. Where possible, we will strengthen these capacities by employing local staff, purchasing local materials and trading with local companies”7

The urge to help those in need, human or animal, is great, particularly for those in fields that require compassion and empathy as wildlife care does. However, we must always ask ourselves, do they need our help? In discussions with IWRC staff, rehabilitators in Australia have repeated that they do not need more volunteers. Instead they need financial aid and encouragement from the global community. The wildlife carers in Australia are facing one of the most devastating wildlife disasters in recent history but they are also knowledgeable about the local wildlife, invested, and already on the ground. With this in mind IWRC recommends that individuals only deploy when invited to ensure that your help is really helping. 

Watching disaster unfold from the “sidelines” can elicit feelings of helplessness, idleness, and even frustration or anger. It is critical, however, to ensure that our efforts to help have the results we intend. Flying to Australia may bring the satisfaction of acting in the face of catastrophe but before booking a plane ticket we must first weigh the monetary, environmental and local costs. In many cases other means of solidarity or aid may be more appropriate. You may consider donating to an organization who is doing work you support. You might also think about how you can support those fighting to protect and save wildlife in Australia on an emotional level— for example you could participate in our letter writing campaign or make a video of support. Finally, you could take action in your own patch of the world to protect wildlife, your local ecosystem or the global biosphere. 

In Solidarity,

The IWRC Staff

 

Works Cited

  1. Brown B. Can Help Hurt? Harvard Political Review. [Internet] MA. 2018 Jun 11. [2020 Jan 10]. available from harvardpolitics.com/online/can-help-hurt/.
  2. Yu P, Xu R, Abramson MJ, Li Shanshan, Guo Y. Bushfires in Australia: a Serious Health Emergency under Climate Change. The Lancet Planetary Health. 2020; 4(1). 2020 Jan 1. [Cited 2020 Jan 10]. Available from doi:10.1016/s2542-5196(19)30267-0
  3. Williams K. IWRC Works to Support to Wildlife Carers Affected by Australian Bushfires. Eugene (OR): IWRC; 2020 Jan 15 [accessed 2020 Feb 12]. available from theiwrc.org/archives/75979.
  4. Calculate and Compensate for Your Emissions! Myclimate. [accessed 2020 Jan 10]. www.myclimate.org/carbon-offset
  5. Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator – Revision History. Washington (DC): Environmental Protection Agency. [accessed 2020 Jan 10]. www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator-revision-history
  6. Kelman I, Dodds R. Developing a Code of Ethics for Disaster Tourism. International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters. [Internet] 2009; 27(3)272-296. available from http://ijmed.org/articles/499/
  7. IFRC. The Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief. Geneva: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. available from https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/who-we-are/the-movement/code-of-conduct/

 

 

 

Spotlight on Max Lipman

Q&A with Max:

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

New barn owl patient

I was very fortunate to have outdoorsy parents. However, until my first internship with a wildlife hospital, I was completely naive to the field of wildlife rehabilitation. When I found out about it, I was instantly intrigued. I always knew I wanted to be a non-domestic veterinary professional, but wasn’t sure how exactly… My internship helped solidify my interest after seeing the diversity, passion, and dedication of the amazing individuals within this field.

 

 

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

During the course of my career, the one thing I’ve enjoyed the most (aside from helping my wildlife patients, of course!) is working with the dedicated people who embody what it means to be an advocate for wildlife – not just on a population scale, but on the individual scale as well. Throughout my career, however, I learned about compassion fatigue and burnout the hard way. Because of this, I have become not only an advocate for excellent, progressive wildlife care, but also an advocate for exemplary ‘people care’ as well. To me, this isn’t just about maintaining positive mental health, but also encouraging camaraderie and collaboration.

 

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

Barn owl receiving an exam

I believe my ability to work and sympathize with others has helped me become a better wildlife professional, given that our work would simply not be possible without the support, collaboration, and dedication of others!

 

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

Early in 2019 I received an amazing opportunity to move from California to Oregon and open a new, state-of-the-art wildlife hospital. Despite having to leave a job I loved, it was quite the unique experience to use what I’ve learned worked (and perhaps most importantly – what didn’t work!) to design a modern wildlife hospital and comprehensive rehabilitation program from the ground up!

 

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

This is a tough question… Part of me wishes I could be a sea otter because watching them dart through the water like flexible torpedos is so fascinating (the great ‘free’ healthcare they’re receiving thanks to the amazing wildlife rehabilitation facilities on the coast is an added bonus) but after seeing how demanding their lives can be in a rapidly changing environment (as well as how they bounce in the waves in combination with my lack of enthusiasm for roller coasters) that’s probably not a great idea… 

 

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

I remember when I first started as a young intern in the field of wildlife rehabilitation… I would be so nervous and excited at what the unique challenges and learning opportunities the next day would bring, I would have difficulty falling asleep. I’m happy to say (after some hard work) I still get that feeling today!

Raccoon under anesthesia

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

Australia

There are no words in any human vocabulary to describe the unimaginable horror as Australia burns. There are emotions, deep-stabbing pains of grief, voids and the vacancy of loss, infinite vacuum of pain, but no words. Not one living thing consumed by this hell brought on by human greed and antipathy deserves this fate. I write this now, as my Australian colleagues have much more important things to do. I hope to voice some of their feelings, but I do not speak for them; I understand there is no possibility that I can ever know the pain they suffer.

Looking on the holocaust from afar is devastating. In the field, you put your head down, go to work, do your best and continue on. The personal pain and suffering comes later. From far away, helpless horror and despair takes over. I cannot weep, I cannot rage, I am numb. The tearing rip through my soul does not yet sear.

Rufous scrub-bird illustration (C) P. Latas

I have been an Australiophile since I can remember. On my first trip, the first view from the airport on hitting the soil of this fabulous continent took my breath away. I knew I was there. The airport, the people, the industrial aspect –all familiar–but there were galahs, right there. And magpie larks and noisy miners and funny-looking pigeons with crests. I was entranced and filled with wonder! Of all the places in the world to burn to nothingness, the loss of Australia is unfathomable. It is a continent already at the brink, and so susceptible and fragile to anthropogenic damage. The impact on the unique and ancient flora and fauna is beyond the scope of human understanding. There is nowhere else in the world these ecosystems and organisms exist. The fires are needless, preventable squandering of irreplaceable, priceless treasures. The Earth has been violated and robbed. So fortunate have I been, to have visited for several extended tours in regions that now are visions of hell. I vividly remember that stunning individual bowerbird who is now surely ash and his lovely bower rendered to molecules. I remember the first wild koalas I saw, on Kangaroo Island, smelling of chewed eucalyptus, whose remains now intermingle with the charcoal of their favorite gum trees.

Noisy scrub-bird illustration (C) P. Latas

Reading the news that Kangaroo Island was aflame dropped the bottom out of my heart. I remember Australia: the first goanna, the first mallee trees; the first brown snake; the first bulldog ant; the first voracious leech; I remember them all and I know they are gone, dead in the most horrible fashion. Gone are half a billion wild animals. Half of all animals in Australia. Countless livestock and pets. Indigenous communities, lands and people. Death of entire ecosystems. Death of a continent. Death of biological record so important to evolution and systematics. Death of history.

Australia is the lesson to the world of what is to come. It is not a surprise. In the late 1970’s I was a fresh young college student working in ecological studies, some of which were predicting the course of human impact on global ecosystems. For 50 years humans have known what would happen, yet little was done to change the course of destruction. Governments have refused to acknowledge or implement policy to prevent disaster. Australia is the result. The rest of us are next.

Facebook user Renae Bruce posted this photo of her brother-in-law holding one of the seven koala’s he rescued in the bush after the fire passed in Mallacoota.

As a wildlife veterinarian I know there is little to be done. Skills in euthanasia will be the most valuable at this point. Yet valiant and dedicated people give their all and rescue the animal fire victims, of which each individual will now be more important than ever to any remaining population. Wildlife rehabilitators are always heros; but this is a new level of courage.

How can we help? I know that everyone of you would jump on a plane tomorrow with a bag of supplies, but that is not what our friends and the burn victims need most. 

  • The easiest answer is money – providing money so rehabilitators can buy what they need.
  • Morale support – we are there if needed. Spreading the word, for help and for prevention.
  • Educating ourselves and others about our local ecological regions and how humans fit into our world, and how deeply we damage it. 
  • Advocating for change and awareness. 
  • Being political and outspoken when needed. 
  • Acknowledging the imminent climate crisis and preparing for the impact on our own turf.

 

Be the best wildlife rehabilitator you can be – in the future you will be needed more than ever!

 

Pat Latas, DVM

IWRC Board of Directors

 

Editor’s note: University of Sydney Ecology professor Chris Dickman is estimating 1 billion animals have been killed thus far by the record-breaking wildfires in Australia, as of Jan 8, 2020.

Twitter user @LuckayyLucario maps showing Sep-Dec burned areas comparing 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 using NASA data as of Jan 1, 2020.

 

IF YOU CONTINUE TO SCROLL DOWN, YOU WILL SEE DISTURBING IMAGES OF WILDLIFE AFFECTED BY FIRE

 

 

 

From CentralTelegraph.com.au A young girl looks at the burnt body of dead kangaroo while walking her dog along a scorched property at Mallacoota. Picture: David Caird

 

Facebook user Luke McCrone posted this photo, saying “Just went for a walk along the beach at #Mallacoota literally hundreds of dead birds washing up. The toll these fires has taken on our wildlife is devastating.”

 

On Jan 2, Facebook user Nick Ritar posted the following ten photos taken at Bastion Beach in Mallacoota, Victoria and said:

“Birds of Eastern Australia 2020

1. Kookaburra
2. Rainbow Lorikeet
3. unidentified
4. Top Knot Pigeon
5. unidentified
6. New Holland Honeyeater
7. Whipbird
8. Gang-gang Cockatoo
9. Silvereye
10. Barn Owl

This is what climate change looks like.”

Editors note: specimen identifications were his, and frankly – there’s really no need to publicly speculate or correct them at this point in time. 

 

Facebook user Nick Ritar, kookaburra.

 

Facebook user Nick Ritar, rainbow lorikeet.

 

Facebook user Nick Ritar, unidentified (pigeon/dove family).

 

Facebook user Nick Ritar, topknot pigeon.

 

Facebook user Nick Ritar, unidentified.

 

Facebook user Nick Ritar, New Holland honeyeater.

 

Facebook user Nick Ritar, whipbird.

 

Facebook user Nick Ritar, gang-gang cockatoo.

 

Facebook user Nick Ritar, silvereye.

 

Facebook user Nick Ritar, barn owl.

 

Editors note: The act of compiling this post has been enough shake me to my core. Just like you, I feel utterly devastated and every image actually feels like someone is trying to pull my heart out of my chest. I have cried, wanted to punch someone (preferably a climate denier) and seriously considered screaming into a pillow as a release. But none of those things will help the people and animals that are suffering and I know the only thing I actually can do to help them is to donate. This is yet more reason for me to get back to work on IWRC’s Disaster Preparedness project so that we – all wildlife rehabbers -can all be ready to respond to these events in the future. I’ve lived through several big fire outbreaks here in southern California and I can honestly say that the only thing the local rehabbers needed from the outside rehabbers was money and moral support. So please, choose one or more of the rehab affiliated links that we have listed on this Facebook post and donate. – Brooke Durham   

 

In memory of Gary Bogue, an IWRC founding board member & JWR editor

Image from an old copy of the Journal of Wildlife Rehabilitation. Copyright IWRC JWR 5(3)

IWRC founding board member and former Journal of Wildlife Rehabilitation editor Gary Bogue died at his Bay area home this September at age 81. In December of 1974, Gary, curator at the Alexander Lindsay Junior Museum, was one of eight individuals to sign the articles of incorporation for IWRC, at the time called Wildlife Rehabilitation Council. He had been involved with IWRC since the earliest of board minutes – January 17, 1974, and although I have no records, likely as early as a 1972 consortium of rehabilitators where the gem of IWRC began.

Gary Bogue at the IWRC 1997 symposium banquet

 

In the late 70’s and early 80’s Gary had a column in the Wildlife Journal (Journal of Wildlife Rehabilitation). In Fall of 1982 he took over as Journal Editor. By all accounts, Gary was heavily involved with the founding and development of IWRC.

Gary, we are grateful for your passion and perseverance on behalf of wildlife!

 

– Kai Williams, Executive Director

Gary’s sentiments remain unchanged here at IWRC. Copyright IWRC JWR 5(3)

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