& Management / UK
Wildlife Casualty Management/ Techniques:
This information should be read in association with Wildlife Casualty Accommodation
which contains background information together with links to the Electronic Library and
Organisations (UK Contacts). The related Species pages contain similar linkages.
||This page has been prepared for the "UK
Wildlife: First Aid and Care" Wildpro module, and is designed for the
needs of the following species: Balaenoptera
acutorostrata - Minke Whale, Delphinus
delphis - Common dolphin, Globicephala
melas - Long-finned pilot whale, Grampus
griseus - Risso's dolphin, Lagenorhynchus
acutus - Atlantic white-sided dolphin, Lagenorhynchus
albirostris - White-beaked dolphin, Orcinus
orca - Killer whale, Phocoena
phocoena - Common porpoise, Physeter
macrocephalus - Sperm whale, Stenella
coeruleoalba - Striped dolphin, Tursiops
truncatus - Bottle-nosed dolphin.
These species are
within the families Balaenopteridae,
- "It is strongly recommended that specialist equipment is used if attempting
transportation of a cetacean." (D23)
- "Suspended stretchers, air and water mattresses have all been used successfully
to date." (D23)
- During transportation care should be taken to avoid excessive pressure on fins.
- It should be possible to keep the skin moist and control the cetacean's body
- It is important to ensure that the material on which the cetacean lies does not damage
its sensitive skin and that it provides sufficient cushioning to prevent physical damage
to the animal during transportation.
- Stretchers are available which
have been specifically designed for cetaceans. These have holes for the pectoral flippers,
which need to be well padded.
Short term (Immediate/Emergency) Accommodation:
- Inflatable pool may be erected at the site of a small stranded cetacean.
- Requires a flat surface for its erection.
- Require frequent pumping of sea water to keep the water in the pool replenished.
- Allows initial refloating of a small cetacean e.g. if sea conditions are unsuitable for
Medium-term (Hospitalisation) Accommodation:
- Minimum requirements:
- No more than two hours transport time from the stranding site.
- Pool of at least 9 metres diameter, with padded sides.
- Support systems available for animals in the water.
- A salt water supply and full saltwater treatment equipment.
- Controlled environment.
- Isolation of the pool and its surroundings from the public.
- Appropriate handling facilities.
- Facilities for 24-hour observation of the casualty cetacean.
- Experienced qualified personnel to staff the facility.
- No suitable facilities are available in the UK at this time. (D42)
Long-term (Rehabilitation and Permanent)
- Not available in the UK at the present time. (D14).
|Appropriate Use (?)
- The decision to move a stranded cetacean to a rehabilitation facility must be taken
carefully with due consideration as to whether this is the most humane option for that
- Mobile pool may allow:
- Delayed refloatation when sea conditions prohibit immediate refloatation.
- Improved veterinary assessment of the casualty. (D23)
- Delayed refloatation for short term treatment of severely dehydrated individuals. (D42)
- Rehabilitation accommodation, if available, may allow treatment for days to a few
weeks and would be suitable for pelagic or coastal species of any age (not very large
animals), including juveniles for hand-rearing, of poor to good (not emaciated) body
condition, with some clinical signs of disease or with injuries requiring more than first
- Pool accommodation at a permanent facility would have to be an isolation pool (away from
permanent residents) and a skilled team of personnel would also be required.(P24.335.w5)
|Complications/ Limitations / Risk
- Once inside a pool, cetaceans which have been stranded frequently require physical
support for hours to days if they are to remain at the surface and upright (D44).
- Cetaceans have delicate skin and care is required to avoid damage by transport
- There is a risk of the animal developing hyperthermia while in a transport container.
|Equipment / Chemicals required and Suppliers
- Two inflatable pools suitable for emergency use are available in the UK at present and
are held at the RSPCA Norfolk Wildlife Hospital and Welsh Marine Life Rescue.
- No suitable hospitalisation/rehabilitation accommodation for cetaceans is available
in the UK at this time. (D42)
|Expertise level / Ease of Use
||A high level of expertise is required;
expert organisations must be contacted:
- Availability of suitable specialist equipment is limited.
|Legal and Ethical Considerations
- Accommodation for casualty wild animals should be designed to minimise the stress on the
animal and to minimise the risk of injury to that animal.
- A wild animal in captivity is protected under the same welfare legislation as domestic
animals, e.g. Protection
of Animals Acts 1911-2000; under this legislation it is an offence to treat
a captive animal cruelly or to cause it unnecessary suffering.
- This includes an obligation to provide proper attention and care.
- The keeper has a duty to keep all wildlife casualties in a fit manner, in accommodation
of a size which allows reasonable movement and with an environment suitable for its normal
way of life.
- Accommodation which does not fulfil the physiological and psychological requirements of
the animal and results in an inadequate level of fitness at the time of release may
seriously compromise the survival ability of that animal. Release of an animal which is
unfit may be an offence under the Abandonment
of Animals Act 1960. (J35.147.w1,
- Risks to human health, both physical and risk of zoonotic illness must be minimised: Health
and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974.
- See: Legislation
relating to Wildlife Casualties.
||Becki Lawson and Suzanne Boardman