Wras Deer Rescue Case Study Health And Social Care Essay

Case Studies



Introduction Page 2

Outcome a) Explain ethics and dilemmas surrounding wildlife rescue and treatment

Discuss the methods, techniques and main considerations in undertaking the rescue and the administering of first aid to the casualties

Grey Seal Pup

Fallow Deer Fawn

Critically identify the issues relating to the rescue i.e. ethical/ barriers/ political/ threats/ health and safety/ conflicts/ successes and include the strengths and weakness of these particular rescues

Grey Seal Pup

Fallow Deer Fawn

A discussion on legislation and any legal complications of rescuing and rehabilitating your chosen wildlife casualties

Grey Seal Pup

Fallow Deer Fawn

Critically evaluate the ethics of dilemmas surrounding choices about whether to rescue and treat sick or injured wildlife, include any alternative strategies and justify the need to handle wildlife

Grey Seal Pup

Fallow Deer Fawn

Outcome b) Discuss the methods, techniques and main considerations in undertaking the rescue and the administering of first aid to a wild creature


Outcome a) Explain ethics and dilemmas surrounding wildlife rescue and treatment

Case Studies

The first part of the essay will be reviewing two wildlife rescue situations which have been carried out by two different wildlife organisations. There will be a critical discussion about the first aid provided, the treatment and rehabilitation of the chosen animals. Part two of the essay will be listing three different first aid situations for a range of wildlife species.

Outcome a) Explain Ethics and Dilemmas Surrounding Wildlife Rescue and Treatment

The two wildlife organisations which have been chosen include;

The RSPCA Grey Seal Rescue and Rehabilitation

And WRAS Deer Rescue and Rehabilitation

RSPCA Grey Seal Rescue Case Study

The West Hatch Wildlife Centre rescued a young grey seal pup (Pacific), it was bought to the centre by British Divers Marine Life Rescue, after it was reported that the seal pup was in distress by a member of the public. Pacific was around four weeks old, and underweight, he also had cuts to his hind flippers. Pacific also needed some dental treatment, but due to him being underweight he was not strong enough to be put through the anaesthesia. (RSCPA (a), 2013)

During the first day, blood tests were performed and Pacific was given antibiotics. The vets fed fluids, to rehydrate the seal directly into his stomach; this was performed four times a day. (RSCPA (a), 2013)

They tried feeding Pacific whole mackerel, but he wasn’t interested with feeding himself, therefore the RSPCA had to help him. On the second day he was treated for lungworm and given iron, salt and vitamin supplements to help build his strength. Pacific was started on a three-day course of pain relief to ease his dental discomfort. Two days later the pup was strong enough to be given anaesthesia so they could perform his dental work. Two fractured teeth were removed. While under anaesthetic, Pacific was tagged so they could identify him in the future. (RSCPA (a), 2013)

Day 13 after the rescue of Pacific, the antibiotics were stopped and the RSPCA moved him to a larger pool. He shared the pool with two other seals which were also being rehabilitated. By day 30 Pacific had reached an appropriate weight to be transferred to the National Seal Sanctuary. Another blood test was performed and he was treated for worms. Day 32, he was transferred to the National Seal Sanctuary in Gweek, Cornwall. The National Seal Sanctuary continued to rehabilitate him and as soon as he was old enough he was released to the wild. (RSCPA (a), 2013)

On the 11th March 2006, Pacific was flown to Newquay airport, where he was picked up by the National Seal Sanctuary staff and was bought back to the Gweek hospital. Pacific weighed 21.5 kilos and was around 8 weeks old when he was transferred. He spent around seven days in isolation, where a blood test was taken, the blood tests came back clear and therefore Pacific was transferred to the nursery pools to continue rehabilitation. (Seal Sanctuary (b), 2012)

Pacific was released back into the wild with three other seals, Bock, Smuggler and Spingo on the 12th July 2006, Porthtowan at 6:30 am. (Seal Sanctuary (b), 2012)

WRAS Deer Rescue Case Study

On the 18th October 2009, WRAS received a call about a baby deer which was caught in stock fencing at Danehill in East Sussex. Once WRAS was at the scene they found a 19 day old, that was suffering from hypothermia, because of being caught in the fence for days. The deer had tried to fit through the one of the squares on the fence so her head and front legs were on one side of the fence and her pelvis and rear on the other side. (WRAS (c) 2011)

The deer was cut free and quickly wrapped her in a blanket and took her to the WRAS ambulance. To Trevor, founder of WRAS, it was clear that she was in a lot of discomfort and pain, so they took her to see experienced deer carers Chris & Sylvia near Ashdown Forest. (WRAS (c) 2011)

Once she was in the warmth, the team checked her wounds; they found that they were deep and very sore. The team decided to call her Button. As button was suffering from hypothermia the next 48 hours were critical. Unfortunately as the team expected, Button deteriorated and started passing blood and died. Luckily the team managed to resuscitated her. They found out that Button had Haemorrhagic Enteritis, which is sudden vomiting and bloody diarrhea, she suffered with this for a couple of days, her foster parent Chris, stayed with her encase she deteriorated again. The next few days were critical, as the team didn’t know whether she had the will to survive and cope with her internal injuries. Again Button began to deteriorate again, she had developed frost bite when she was on the fence, which caused her to lose the tips of her ears because of bad circulation. She had an invisible ligature wound again from the fence, the wound started to appear and caused an open wound to appear, the wound was over 12 inches long and located under the belly. (WRAS (c) 2011)

Eventually but slowly, Button started to recover over the next 10 days. The rescuers were amazed to see the difference. Button met another female fallow deer, named Billie, there was a massive size difference between the two of them which you can see in one of WRAS pictures below, Figure . Button was born very late in the year. Fallow deer rarely give birth after the end of July, however Button was born at the beginning of October. (WRAS (c) 2011)

The two deer’s became very close, Buttons ligature wound eventually scanned up and fell off which left a scar, that starts at her hip, goes under her belly and up the other side again. If Button hadn’t been rescued then there would be a chance she would have died in the fence. (WRAS (c) 2011)

As Button and Billie got older and bigger they were allowed out on their own during the day and came in at night, they were soon allowed to stay in the paddock, in the garden, overnight. In the spring of 2010, the garden fence was removed to allow the girls to roam into the forest and explore on their own. The team soon found that Billie and Button had bought a male fallow deer back to the garden with them. (WRAS (c) 2011)

Both Button and Billie began to get fatter, and their milk pouches started to develop. This was amazing experience for the team, who thought button might not have even survived after being rescued. Fallow deer will leave the herd before they give birth, so when Billie and Button disappeared, the team didn’t know whether they would come back or even join another herd. (WRAS (c) 2011)

On 2nd July 2011, Button arrived back into the herd, but on her own. She gathered her foster parents and took them to the bottom of the garden, where here baby was. Billie gave birth and returned to the herd a few days later. (WRAS (c) 2011)

Discuss the methods, techniques and main considerations in undertaking the rescue and the administering of first aid to the casualties


Only a qualified marine first aider should rescue the seal pup. Gauntlets should be worn to ensure that if the handler is bitten the wound will not be too deep to puncture through. Approaching the seal calmly, a blanket should be placed over the seal to minimise stress and startle other adult seals, as they may abandon their pups if they become frightened. Once a blanket has been put over the seal, lift the seal into a holding box or pet carrier big enough for the animal. (Twycrosszoo (d) 2010)

Depending on the type of injuries the seal pup has whether it is dehydrated, underweight, over heated etc, immediate first aid should be applied at the scene to ensure the animal has the best chance of survival. First aid can be as simple as rehydrating the animal in some cases medics advise putting wet blankets around the seal to bring its temperature down, but ensuring that the seal maintains its normal body temperature which is between 36 - 37’C. Once the seal has been given immediate first aid care the seal should be taken to the closet rescue centre which can house the animal. (Twycrosszoo (d) 2010)

Pups are unable to regulate their body temperature in captivity so for hypothermic animals, heat lamps and blankets are often used to regulate the seals body temperature. Hypothermic pups should be kept cool by running cold water over their flippers. Fluid therapy should be provided for the seal on arrival, this is usually given through the stomach. In severe cases were pups are severely dehydrated or immobile, fluids can be given intravenously into the supraspinal vein, situated above the vertebral column. Well hydrated seal pups have a tear stain which can be seen in the corner of their eye. (Twycrosszoo (d) 2010)

Fallow Deer

Unfortunately anyone can rescue a deer, unlike a seal pup. This can be a problem especially if a member of the public thinks the animal has been orphaned and then takes matters into their own hands. However PPE should be worn to ensure the deer, although young does not cause any harm to the person trying to rescue them. A blanket should be put over the deer’s eyes, this will keep the calm, minimise stress and stop them from kicking. (Irish Wildlife Matters (e) 2010)

Immediate first aid should be applied at the scene to ensure the animal has the best chance of survival. A deer’s normal body temperature is 100-102 degrees. When the fawn is found they may be cold, so you should bring the temperature back up, by rubbing the fawn with warm dry towels or given a wrapped hot water bottle if possible. Ensure that the fawn doesn’t get too hot as they can die from heat exhaustion as well as from the cold. (Irish Wildlife Matters (e) 2010)

Once the deer has been given the first aid it needs, it should be taken to the nearest rescue centre that has the facilities to house the animal. Unfortunately as Fawns cost a lot to care, especially if there injuries are severe, the vet may feel it is best to euthanize the animal. However is some cases like for Button, foster parents can be found and they will look after the Fawn as they have experience looking after and rehabilitating the Fawns. (Irish Wildlife Matters (e) 2010)

Critically identify the issues relating to the rescue i.e. ethical/ barriers/ political/ threats/ health and safety/ conflicts/ successes and include the strengths and weakness of these particular rescues


Mother grey seals will often leave their pup’s on land, while they are out feeding because the pups are not old enough to swim, seal pups are not able to swim until they have lost all of their white fur, this happens between three to four weeks of age. Mothers will abandon their pups if they have been touched or moved. This is the problem for many seal pups, people see them alone and immediately think they have been abandoned, so either take matters into their own hands and rescue them by themselves or ring specific animal services like the RSPCA.

It is more likely that seal pups are rescued due to the number of people disturbing or touching the pups causing the mothers to abandon the pups. Therefore because the problem was caused by humans, the pup should be rescued to ensure the survival of the pup. There are several ethical reasons to rescue seal pups but several problems can occur because of this. When people call marine rescue units, the seal may not actually need rescuing, seal pups should only be rescued if the mother has not been seen for several hours or more, if they are injured, they are underweight or if the pup is distressed or non-responsive. (Trevor Weeks, 2012)

The main legislation which effects the rescue of seals is The Marine Scotland Act 2010, as stated under legislation, seals can only be taken without a licence if there is concerns for their welfare, so if they have been abandoned. (Arkive, 2013)

The main threat to the rescue is becoming injured, which is why it important for trained professionals to rescue wildlife. Seals can inflict a bite which can be very painful and lead to an infection, if not treated within a couple of hours. (Seals, 2013) Public can also be a threat to the rescue, as many people gather and want to help at the same time, problems can occur before the rescue can take place with dog walkers and small children trying to attack or touch the seal.

There are always risks when rescuing wild animals, the first thing to consider is if it is safe to rescue the animal without causing yourself harm. When distressed and scared seals can bite, so the appropriate PPE should be provided and warn to ensure the seal and rescue team are not injured. Steal toe cap boots and gauntlets should be worn as part of PPE.

Many rescuers can have different views on the rescue situation, some issues can be whether to rescue the animal because it is endangered so it would be the right thing for the species but others may feel that rescuing the animal can be interfering with nature so therefore the animal should not be rescued at that particular time. As the rescue is for seal pups; has the pup actually been abandoned or have the public just seen the animal today and felt that the mother had abandoned her offspring, now from the rescuers point of view do you rescue the animal just by receiving the public’s knowledge or do you view the animal and then review them in 24 hours at a safe distance to determine whether they are dehydrated and underweight. (Trevor Weeks, 2012)

Between the 18th July 2011 and the 23rd February 2012, 55 seal pups were rescued ranging from a day old to 10 weeks. Out of the 55 seals that were rescued five unfortunately passed away, however the remaining 50 seals that year were released and have successfully survived this Christmas. (Seal Sanctuary, 2012)

Fallow Deer

Mother does will leave the protection of the herd to give birth and during the first few weeks of the fawn’s life, so the doe can keep the fawn away from danger for as long as possible. The mother doe will often leave her fawn on their own, while she is feeding or sleeping. The fawn’s white spots will keep the camouflaged from predators and other deer, and their mother will eat the fawn’s droppings and urine, to hide the scent of the young fawn from predators. (Suite 101 (f) 2009)

Every year, hikers find Fawns in tall grass or bushes. And they believe they are rescuing deer by taking it away from the environment it is in. This is a big problem as Does are very good mothers and will often leave their young alone, hidden, while they feed or sleep. Humans find these Fawns ‘alone’ in the woods/ meadows and believe the fawn has been orphaned. By going near the fawn, you are scarring the mother who is trying to protect her baby. More people are rescuing young fawn’s thinking they have been abandoned and taking them to wildlife rescues when they don’t even need rescuing. (Suite 101 (f) 2009)

One of the biggest problems is that walkers do not know that fawn’s are left on their own during periods of the day. So they believe that they have been abandoned so will either rescue the deer themselves, which can cause even problems if there is something seriously wrong with the fawn. (Suite 101 (f) 2009)

The main legislation affecting the rescue and rehabilitation of Fellow Deer is the Animal Welfare Act 2006, they are also protected under the Deer Act 1991. However they are a species of least concern on the IUCN Red List. (GWCT (g), 2013)

The main threat to the rescue is again becoming injured, which is why it is important for trained professionals to rescue wildlife. Whether the deer is a young Fawn, a Doe or a Buck, they can inflict a lot of pain when they kick or thrash around when being handled. Again the public can be a threat to the rescue either by touching the animal in the first place causing the mother to abandon the animal or trying to rescue the animal themselves, and in the case of Buttons rescue, if the public tried to rescue her they would have caused more problems. (Trevor Weeks, 2012)

As mentioned before there can be a lot of risks when rescuing wild animals. Even with a fawn like Button, you need to consider whether it is safe to rescue the animal without causing yourself or others any harm. Like seals, when distressed or scared deer’s may bite, so rescuers should were gloves, to protect themselves. An adult deer can kill you by kicking or hitting you in the chest with the bucks antlers. (Trevor Weeks, 2012)

Again like with the seal rescue there can be a lot of views on the rescue situation, as deer are not classed as endangered animals but least concern there is more to discuss. Especially at the extent of the deer’s injuries and whether they actually have a chance of surviving. There is a lot of concern with the welfare of deer’s as they are prey animals they rely a lot of running away, so if a deer sustained injuries to one of its legs and had to have it amputated would it be right to send that animal back into the wild knowing that it could possibly attacked and killed? WRAS rescued a deer that had been attacked by a dog, days before it had been found. So the young roe deer was sent to St. Tiggywinkles for further veterinary treatment. Unfortunately the decision was made to amputate the leg, fortunately however St. Tiggywinkles have various sites where they able to release 3-legged deer. If the deer had not been rescued and treated, then he would have died a slow and horrible death. (WRAS (h) 2010)

During 2010 WRAS rescued a total of 83 deer, figures for deaths have not been listed but many of these animals would not have survived if they were not rescued to begin with. Many of these casualties were injured because of dog attacks, caught in fencing, trapped in buildings, abandoned and also road casualties. (WRAS (i) 2011)

A discussion on legislation and any legal complications of rescuing and rehabilitating your chosen wildlife casualties


The following legislation is concerned for Grey Seals;

Animal Welfare Act 2006

The Marine Mammal Protection Act 1972

The Marine (Scotland) Act 2010

Conservation of Seals Act 1970

The Grey Seals Protection Act 1914

The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) was passed on October 21, 1972. All marine mammals are protected under the MMPA. The act prevents marine mammals from being taken from their habitats; it also controls the amount of import and export of any marine mammal and any marine mammal products in the U.S. This act covers hunting, killing, capture and harassment of marine mammals. (Marine Bio (j), 2011)

If a marine mammal is required for scientific research, public display or import/ export, than a permit must be obtained from FWS, however all permits must agree with the MMPA’s regulations. (Marine Bio (j), 2011)

The Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 replaces the outdated Conservation of Seals Act 1970. It improves the protection for seals and provides a new licence system to ensure appropriate management. It will be an offence to kill or take any seal at any unless a licence has been obtained or if there is concerns for their welfare. (The Scottish Government, 2010)

The act allows charities and volunteers to rescue and rehabilitate sick, injured abandoned/ orphaned seals, without any legal implications.

Fallow Deer

The Fallow Deer’s Conservation status is classed as Least Concern on the ICUN Red List. There are several pieces of legislation which protect the deer.

These include;

Agriculture Act 1947

Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, Schedule 7

Deer Act 1991

Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996

Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002

Animal Welfare Act 2006

Welfare of Animals Act Northern Ireland 2011

Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011

Hunting Act 2004 (GWCT (g), 2013)

The Animal Welfare Act 2006, is aimed mainly at owners and keepers which are responsible for ensuring the welfare and the needs of the animal are met. (Defra, 2012)

Deer Act 1991, protects the deer from being taken or killed during the ‘closed’ seasons, unless it is done for the purpose of preventing suffering of an injured or diseased deer, or to prevent damage to crops, vegetables, fruit or any other property or land. The act only allows authorised persons or people who have been given permission from land owners or occupiers allowing them to enter their land. Taking or killing deer in the first hour after sunset or the first hour before sunrise is illegal, as well as certain weapons for killing or taking deer. A person would not have committed an offence if the weapon they use is to prevent the suffering of an injured or diseased deer. (JNCC, 2013)

The acts allow charities and volunteers to rescue and rehabilitate sick, injured abandoned/ orphaned seals, without any legal implications.

Critically evaluate the ethics of dilemmas surrounding choices about whether to rescue and treat sick or injured wildlife, include any alternative strategies and justify the need to handle wildlife

Ethics is the branch of philosophy which outlines what is good for the individual and society, and establishes the obligations and duties required in a particular situation. (Maureen Collins, 2012)

There can be a big discussion when treating wildlife casualties such as Grey Seal Pups and Fallow Fawn’s. These decisions can either be for treatment or euthanasia, they include;

Is it possible to treat the animal?

Is there appropriate veterinary equipment available for to deal with the injuries/ diseases of that animal. Is the disease/ injury treatable or will recovery lead to disability, therefore should the animal be euthanized? (VAWM (m), 2013)

What is the species and what behaviours do they need to survive in the wild?

If a wild animal is going to be released back into the wild then they have to have the same chance as the other animals in that environment. For example, seals and deer need to know how to feed, defend and possibly stay away from predators. If they are not able to do this then it is not ethical to release that animal back into the wild. (VAWM (m), 2013)

How long is the animal in captivity for? How often will the animal be handled during treatment?

It is very important to remember that Seal Pups and Fawns are still wild animals, and should be treated as such. The animal will not be used to being handled or surrounded by humans and other animals. This situation can be very stressful and cause life threatening problems for the species. (VAWM (m), 2013)

How old and what sex is the animal?

As mentioned before many young animals are taken in by civilians who think they are orphaned and injured however this is not the case. Many animals can imprint on humans as their mothers, this is very common with Deer Fawns, this can make it harder to rehabilitate the animal when they are older and could get them killed by hunters if they are used to humans. Seals should also be limited contact when they are young as this can also cause death for them especially if they get too close to fishing and pedestrian boats. The sex of the animal is also very important, especially female, if a young/ adult deer has a fractured pelvis they will have great difficulty giving birth, so would the question be; to spay the animal and release, spay the animal and keep in captivity or euthanize the animal? (VAWM (m), 2013)

What time of year is it?

Was the casualty bought in before or during the winter periods, if so have they built up enough fat storage to survive over winter. Both deer’s and seals migrate during the winter months for warmer areas and food, so it is important if possible to rehabilitate and release the animal before the colder months or keep the animal in captivity until the seasons have changed. (VAWM (m), 2013)

Is there treatment and rehabilitation facilities available for the animal?

Before rescuing the animal is there appropriate accommodation for that animal, with the specialist facilities to handle, house and look after them properly. Large animals like deer will need sufficient accommodation. Again like deer, seals also need specialist accommodation as they are marine mammals. Do the staff have enough knowledge and experience to care for these animals properly. Finally once the animal has recovered where will they be rehabilitated and released. (VAWM (m), 2013)

Who pays for the treatment and rehabilitation of that animal?

Under the BVA/ RSPCA Memorandum of Understanding; Veterinary Surgeons have a duty to treat free of charge small wild mammals and all wild birds bought to their surgeries during their normal practice hours. The RSPCA will meet the initial emergency cost of treatment or euthanasia which includes the cost of a visit to the scene of the accident for any sick or injured large wild mammals including deer, badgers and small wild birds. Rescuing, treating and rehabilitating Seals and Deer’s can cost thousands of pounds depending on the type of injury and how long the animal is going to stay at the rescue for. (VAWM (m), 2013) For a baby Fawn it can cost up to two thousand pound, due to the specialist care and rehabilitation that they need. (Trevor Weeks, 2012) Grey Seal pups can cost up to a thousand pound to rescue, rehabilitate and release. (Seal Sanctuary, 2013)

What risks are there to the staff/ volunteers involved?

Is the animal that is being rescued likely to have any zoonotic diseases and are there procedures in place to minimise this risk. Are staff vaccinated against rabies, TB. Are the staff involved with rescuing the animal, trained in how to handle the animal without become injured themselves. Also when handling is needed and when it should be avoided, especially animals like deer which can kick and head-butt staff when they are stressed. (VAWM (m), 2013)

Is there a chance that the animal could pass on diseases when re-released?

Is there a chance of the casualty spreading disease back into the wild environment when it is released? Or is there pathogens in the wild environment which could cause the animal to get an infection, which means the animal would either die, or possibly be rescued and treated again, which means more handling and stress to the animal when it is not needed. (VAWM (m), 2013)

Are there any legislative requirements?

In the UK, most animals are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside ACT (WCA) 1981, a casualty animal should only be kept in captivity for as long as they need treating or until they are no longer ‘disabled’. If the animal is kept for longer than due to treatment or they are permanently disabled and the decision has been made to keep them in captivity then a license may need to be required following a certificate from a veterinary surgeon. (VAWM (m), 2013)

The second part of the assignment will be focussing on three different first aid situations for a range of animal species. The three situations which are been reviewed include RTA, Animals Caught in Fencing and Poisoning.


Animals large and small can be involved in RTA’s, they may injured but can also be killed. The most common animals injured in RTA’s include; Foxes, Deer, Wild Boar, Badgers, Swan, Hedgehogs and various species of birds. The large animals like foxes, badgers, swan and deer are potentially dangerous animals especially when they are scared or injured so they will need expert handling. If the animal leaves the scene then keep a safe distance and see where the animal goes, ensuring you ring for assistance. If the animal is still in the road then you can call the police for road assistance and either the RSPCA or WRAS. If the animal is not moving and it is safe to approach them then you can either put a coat or blanket over their head to minimise stress. If the animal appears to be calm then it is a sign that they are paralysed by fear, this is seen commonly in deer. People should keep a safe distance from the animal until rescuers arrive. (Help Wildlife (n), 2012)

If the RTA victim is a small bird or animal, again if it is safe to do so then you can pick it up either using gloves or a towel, you need to remember that even though these animals are a lot smaller, especially squirrels, gulls and birds of prey can cause minor injuries when injured and threatened. (Help Wildlife (n), 2012)

A large cardboard box can be used for smaller casualties or a carry box which is designed for cats, this is better for animals that are still lively and determined to get away. If you are using a cardboard box for the casualty then ensure the lid is secured so that the animal can’t escape, provide air holes and place the box somewhere warm and quiet and kept away from children, until you take it to a vet or wildlife rescue centre. (Help Wildlife (n), 2012)

It is important that the animal sees a vet as soon as possible, as it is likely to be suffering from pain and shock, they may also have more serious injuries internally. Make sure food and water is not given to the animal. Provide the animal with heat, as this helps with shock. You can put a towel covered hot water bottle at the other end of the box to allow the casualty to get away from the heat. If the animal begins to pant then the heat should be taken away. (Help Wildlife (n), 2012)

Animals caught in fencing (Fishing line, Netting or Fencing)

Fishing Line

Animals that are caught in fencing can have serious and life threatening injuries. When faced with this scenario people want to save the animal so will cut it free, the problem is this can cause more problems, a wildlife rescuer will need to be called to help with the first aid of the animal. (Help Wildlife (o), 2012)

Fishing line is a common problem for wildlife and causes thousands of injuries each year. The problem with fishing line is that it isn’t biodegradable; animals can either swallow it or get tangled up in it. The fishing line can wrap around a birds’ toes, which cuts off the circulation and can cause infection and will cause the foot to be amputated. If a birds feet are affected then it will affect their ability to fly. Waterfowl can be affected as they can swallow the fishing line thinking that it is weed. If any bird or animal is seen with fishing line hanging from their mouth then a wildlife rescuer should be called to help with the casualty. Do not attempt to capture the animal yourself or remove the line from their mouth as it may cause more damage. (Help Wildlife (o), 2012)

Netting or Fencing

If an animal is trapped in netting or fencing then they will be extremely frightened, they will view help as a serious threat. The animal will try to escape and defend itself and if you try to help the animal they will cause you serious harm. If the animal is a squirrel, fox, badger, deer or swan then do not attempt to rescue the animal yourself wait for help. If the casualty is a smaller animal then you can cover them with a towel to keep them calm, you should cut it free with a few inches of the netting left attached. Do not remove the netting unless it is absolutely necessary, if the netting is restricting the animals breathing. (Help Wildlife (o), 2012)

The animal may be dehydrated, malnourished and suffering from shock, heat stroke or hypothermia. Every animal that is constricted like this should be looked at by a wildlife rescuer to ensure there is no lasting damage to any limbs due to loss of blood supply. (Help Wildlife (o), 2012)


Sometimes wild animals and birds are found barely alive or dead, often poisoning is suspected. Poisoning can result from;

Deliberate illegal poisoning for example baits laced with pesticide which are laid illegally for birds and other animals. Bodies of certain animals are used to hide these pesticides, dead rabbits can be cut open, pegged down and either poisonous powder, liquid or pellets can scattered on the body.

Legal pesticides that have been put down, for example de-icer, containing anti-freeze can also cause problems for wildlife with the potential to kill.

There is not much first aid advice, if you find the animal still alive and you see that they have been poisoned then you need to make the animal sick so they can vomit the poison out of there system. Some poisons may burn the oesophagus on the way back up so the animal needs to be seen by a vet immediately, if you are aware of what the animal has eaten or have a sample of the poison, take it to the vets so they can treat the animal with the appropriate medication. (Maureen Collins, 2012)

To conclude, animals are involved in a lot of first aid situations many that are caused by humans trying to help but sometimes making the situation a lot worse. Especially with concerns of orphaned animals that are rescued when they are not ‘truly orphans’ this can cause a lot of stress for the animal, and will also cost rescuers a lot of money when it can be spent on animals that are actually injured. People can have concerns for animals without rescuing them and taking matters into their own hands instead contact your local rescue centre which will assess the situation before rescuing the animal.