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CONTENTS

Introduction and General Information

"Record collection enhances individual bird care, response evaluations, and the ability to accurately characterise the best practices for appropriate care." (D160.8.w8)

In any oiled wildlife response, records should be kept throughout the response. These records may be used for:

  • Assessment of the impact of the spill;
  • Evaluation of the spill and lesson learning;
  • Submission of claims for compensation.

(D183.w6)

"Accurate and thorough records are necessary to ensure that each bird receives proper treatment. Records also generate data which can be used to improve the medical and cleaning techniques for oiled wildlife." (D135.5.w5)

Records are essential in order to (B363.5.w5):

  • Monitor the progress of each casualty;
  • Determine casualty survival rates;
  • Evaluate the oiled wildlife response;
  • Cost the wildlife response;
  • Improve future response efforts;
  • Provide information for the media;
  • Provide information for the Incident Control Centre;
  • Allow subsequent research.

(B363.5.w5)

In addition to individual patient records, data log sheets should be kept giving totals of the number of species and individuals. (B363.5.w5)

Impact assessment requires an estimate of the total number of animals affected, plus information on the species, age structure and possible populations of origin. (D183.w6)

In order to properly evaluate both the response and any contingency plan on which the response was based, it is important to maintain records on all response activities including human resources used, other resources used and the decision-making process throughout the response. Such records are also required for any compensation claims for the expenses of rehabilitation efforts. (D183.w6)

In some countries, specific records are required legally. 

  • In the UK, records may be required to show that a casualty animal of a protected species was taken from the wild, and is being held, for reasons permitted under legislation such as the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
  • In the USA, requirements for a rehabilitator's licence include an annual report listing the species handled, the date and reason each animal was obtained and the disposition of each casualty. (D135.4.w4)
Published Guidelines linked in Wildpro

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Oil Spill Assessment Records

Records should be maintained showing:

  • The results of the survey of resources at risk, detailing information on the location of wild animals in relation to the spilled oil. (D160.8.w8)
  • The locations of all sightings of oiled animals. (D160.8.w8)
Associated techniques linked from Wildpro

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Records of Live Animals

Search & Collection Records

Records should be kept of each individual bird collected, starting from when the individual is captured. (B363.5.w5, D133.3.w3, D159.III.w3, D214.4.w4)
  • This may be a legal requirement.
  • In the UK, records may be required to show that a casualty animal of a protected species was taken from the wild, and is being held, for reasons permitted under legislation such as the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. (D27)
  • In the USA, requirements for a rehabilitator's licence include an annual report listing the species handled, the date and reason each animal was obtained and the disposition of each casualty. (D135.4.w4)

Information on each individual casualty should include:

  • Time and date of capture. (D159.III.w3)
  • Identity of capture team. (D159.III.w3)
  • Location of capture site (identified by GPS is possible). (D159.III.w3)
  • Species. (D159.III.w3)
  • Any initial treatment given. (D159.III.w3)

Records, once started, should accompany the individual casualty, e.g. taped to the transport box, or with records and box labelled with a numbering system ensuring that the records can quickly be matched with the box. (B363.5.w5)

Associated techniques linked from Wildpro

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Admission & Stabilisation Records

Records are important for care of the individual animal and also for evaluation of response efforts and research to improve standards of care. (B188, 133.5.w5, D135.5.w5, D160.6.w6, D214.4.w4)
  • Each individual should be tagged and its progress monitored. (D214.4.w4)
  • Complete and accurate records help to ensure that each casualty is given the appropriate care. (D160.5.w5)
  • Accurate and sufficiently detailed records are essential if meaningful information is to be gathered and may be a legal requirement.
    • In the UK it is generally required that anyone in possession of a wild animal be able to show reasons for such possession. (D27)
    • In the USA in some oil spill responses it may be necessary to maintain an appropriate chain of custody/evidence for each animal. (D133.4.w4, B23.38.w2)
  • Minimum information to be recorded includes species and date and location of stranding. (D139)
  • Critical information to collect and record for each individual casualty at intake includes: (D133.4.w4)
    • Location of capture
    • Date and time of collection
    • Name of person who collected the casualty
  • Capture information, intake data, the species, age and sex, together with the temporary leg band identification number should be recorded. (J29.8.w1)
    • Information to be recorded from the initial physical examination includes weight, body temperature, percentage dehydration, heart and lung sounds and any detected abnormalities. (D159.III.w3, J29.8.w1)
      • e.g. obvious injuries, disease, problems related to oiling. (D160.5.w5)
    • For legal purposes it may be necessary to record the type of oil, oiled areas of the body, depth of oiling on the feathers and the estimated percentage oiling of the bird. (D159.III.w3, J29.8.w1)
    • Additionally a small sample of oiled feathers may be pulled (contour feathers from above the water line) and stored together with a photograph showing the oiled area of the bird and its identifying leg band. Samples are labelled with the bird's leg band number, species and date of admission, together with the name of the spill. (J29.8.w1)
  • A Log book (or similar) maintained for casualties, in the order of admission to the rehabilitation centre should include: (D133.4.w4)
    • Admission number (unique to that individual casualty)
    • Date of admission
    • Species
    • Capture site
    • Temporary identification (e.g. temporary leg band number for birds)
    • Final disposition (release, euthanasia, long term care)
    • Date of final disposition.

Further information on record keeping for wildlife casualties is available in: Wildlife Casualty Record Keeping (with special reference to UK Wildlife)

  • When possible, when treating an individual oiled casualty or in small spills affecting only a few birds, individual records should be kept detailing all treatments given to each casualty. (D133.5.w5)
  • When large numbers of oiled casualties are received during an oil spill response pen records may be used to record when feeding/gavage is carried out. 
    • Information from pen records should be transferred to individual bird records, preferably on a daily basis. (D133.5.w5)
  • Results of blood samples may be determined and recorded in batches prior to transfer of information onto individual records. (D133.5.w5)
Associated techniques linked from Wildpro

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Evidence of Oiling Records

NOTE: The legal requirements regarding records and evidence of oiling vary between countries. 

In the UK the National Contingency Plan for Marine Pollution from Shipping and Offshore Installations (D134) notes in its section on cost recovery (Appendix O): "It is essential during any counter pollution operation all those involved keep records of what they did and when and why they did it." It further adds that:

  • "the records serve a variety of purposes and as the source material for much information drawn; and
  • since responders can not know the particular purpose that records will serve in advance, record keeping should err on the side of too much rather than too little detail." (D134)

For legal evidence in the USA:

  • In the USA in some oil spill responses it may be necessary to maintain an appropriate chain of custody/evidence for each animal. (D133.4.w4, B23.38.w2)
  • Birds:
    • A sample of oiled feathers may be obtained by cutting or pulling a few small contour feathers, preferably from above the waterline. The sample should be placed in aluminium foil (shiny side inward) and the edges of the foil bent over to seal the contents. This can then be placed into a suitable container (ziploc bag) together with a label providing the date the sample was taken, the bird's species, the number of its identification band, spill name and acquisition number of the individual. This is then placed into a locked freezer for storage. (D133.4.w4, B23.38.w2)
      • Swabs of oil from the legs may be taken and stored in aluminium foil in a similar manner. (B23.38.w2)
    • A photograph should be taken of each bird, showing the whole bird and highlighting the areas of oiling and if possible the leg band number. If the leg band number is not readable then the relevant information (spill name, admission date, bird species, acquisition number, leg band number) should be written on the back of a Polaroid photo at the time it is taken or displayed (e.g. on a board) and photographed with the bird. (D133.4.w4)
      • Photographs showing oiling are used as evidence. (D160.5.w5)
    • Any bird that does not survive should be necropsied. Permission for necropsy may need to requested from the trustees prior to the necropsy being carried out. Proper chain of evidence is required as necropsy findings may be a part of natural resources damage assessment (NRDA) enquiries in the USA. (B23.38.w2)
  • Mammals: 
    • Oil sample.
      • If visible oiling is present then oil should be scraped from the fur using a wooden spatula, and placed into a glass jar. (D208.4.w4)
      • If oil is not visible, a piece of fibreglass cloth is held in alcohol-cleaned forceps/haemostats, rubbed over an affected area, then placed in a glass container. (D208.4.w4)
      • At no time should nitrile gloves touch the oil sample/sampling cloth. (D208.4.w4)
      • Each sample should be labelled with the spill name, date, species, intake log number, tag colour and number and the location at which the animal was captured. (D208.4.w4)
    • A photograph should be taken showing the whole animal, with the oiled area visible and if possible any tag number visible also. This should be stored labelled with the spill name, date, species, intake log number, tag colour and number and the location at which the animal was captured. (D208.4.w4)
Associated techniques linked from Wildpro

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Examination and Treatment Records

For each individual casualty a record should be kept of all findings from examination and observations, including initial assessment, assessment for washing, ongoing assessments and observations and assessment for release.
  • Observations should be recorded on the appropriate forms, including notes of activities such as self feeding and swimming. (D135.7.w7)

Records should also be kept of all treatments given including initial and stabilisation care, treatments given in preparation for cleaning, cleaning, feeding both before and after cleaning, any vaccinations given, any other specific veterinary treatments.

  • Where large numbers of casualties are involved it may be necessary to note treatments initially on a "pen by pen" basis, rather than an individual casualty basis (e.g. noting on a clipboard attached to the pen that the residents were each gavaged with a standard (recorded) amount of fluids at a particular time), but these records should later be transferred to the individual casualty records. Similarly, blood results may initially be recorded on batch forms. Following transfer of information to individual records, pen or batch records should be retained as a backup for information retrieval. (D133.5.w5)

End-of-day reports show the work done during the current day and work to be done during the following day. (D160.8.w8)

Associated techniques linked from Wildpro

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Disposition Records

Records should indicate the fate (euthanasia, death or release) of each casualty. (D183.w6, D133.7.w7, D135.9.w9)

Euthanased individuals

Records should be kept for each individual which is euthanased. These records should include, as a minimum:

  • Species;
  • Individual identification;
  • Date and time of collection/admission;
  • Date and time of euthanasia;
  • Reasons for euthanasia;
  • Method of euthanasia.
    • N.B. Certain methods of euthanasia may affect findings at post mortem examination. (B363.8.w8, P24.335.w12)

(D133.7.w7)

Individuals dying during treatment and rehabilitation

Records of individuals dying during care should indicate:

  • Date and time of death.
  • Any known events around the time of death (e.g. during washing, or during gavage, or "died overnight").
  • Necropsy findings.
  • Person undertaking necropsy.
  • Details of further investigations (e.g. laboratory samples sent to, findings of laboratory investigations)

(D133.7.w7, D135.9.w9, D208.App.w9)

Released individuals

All birds should be given a permanent identifying band before release; mammals also should be permanently identified prior to release. Temporary identification bands should be removed prior to release. (B363.12.w12, B379.38.w38, D133.7.w7, D159.III.w3, D160.7.w7, J29.8.w1)

  • Release records should indicate the temporary (during care) and new permanent identifying number of the casualty, together with the date, time and site of release.
  • Records need to clearly indicate the continuing identity of each released individual so that any post-release information can be matched to an individual casualty record.

(D133.7.w7, D133.App6a.w16, D133.App6c.w18, D135.9.w9, D208.App.w9)

Individuals retained in permanent captivity

  • Records should be show the permanent identifier of the individual, the date at which the animal was placed into permanent care and which zoo or other location the individual was released to. (D133.App6a.w16, D133.App6c.w18, D135.9.w9, D208.App.w9)
Associated techniques linked from Wildpro

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Records of Dead Animals

Essential information can be collected from carcasses, both regarding the impact of the spill and additional data of wider interest. It is important that there is a system for systematic collection, storage and examination (necropsy) of dead oiled animals, whether they were dead when collected, euthanased, or died during rehabilitation. (D183.w6)

Large numbers of carcasses should be deep frozen prior to necropsy. (D183.w6)

Records of dead animals should include:

  • Time and date of collection. (D159.III.w3, D183.w6)
  • Identity of collection team. (D159.III.w3)
  • Location of collection site (identified by GPS is possible). (D159.III.w3, D183.w6)
  • Cause of death. (D183.w6)
  • Any treatments given before death or euthanasia (e.g. cleaning, blood sampling, feeding). (D183.w6)
  • Details should be attached to each carcass. (D159.III.w3)
  • In the USA, these data are used in the Natural Resources Damage Assessment. (D159.III.w3)

Note: 

  • Necropsy may be required to provide age and sex data of casualties. (D183.w6)
  • Biometric data from carcasses may allow assessment of the probable origins of oiled individuals. (D183.w6)
  • Any ringed individuals found should be carefully documented; these may provide information on the area of origin of the casualties. (D183.w6)
  • Tissue samples may be required for legal purposes in some countries. (D183.w6)
  • If possible, systematic necropsy should accommodate the needs of ongoing local wildlife pathology or biology programmes. (D183.w6)
Associated techniques linked from Wildpro

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Authors & Referees

Authors Debra Bourne MA VetMB PhD MRCVS (V.w5)
Referee Dr Virginia Pierce (V.w73)

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