Phone Operators Support Material

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1 Native Animal Trust Fund Inc Wildlife Rescue Service Phone Operators Support Material 24hr EMERGENCY HOTLINE or 0418 NATIVE i Native Animal Trust Fund Nov 2010

2 Phone Operators Role & Responsibilities 1 How the Emergency Hotline Works` 1 General Advice: ( on what to do until help arrives) 2 Birds - General 2 (General bird information; Baby birds: Fledglings; Nestlings) Birds Specific Rescues 3 (Birds caught in high trees; Birds caught on TV antennae; Birds trapped in buildings) Birds Safety Reminders 3 (Aggressive Birds; Handling Raptors/Waterbirds & Seabirds; Oiled Birds) Echidnas & Platypus 4 Flying Foxes & Bats 4 Koalas 5 (Koala on the ground; up in a tree) Lizards & Land Turtles 5 (Goannas up telegraph poles; Turtles crossing roads) Macropods Kangaroos, Wallabies etc 6 Native Rodents & Bandicoots 6 Quolls & Dingoes 7 Possums & Gliders 7 (Joeys; Possums in roof or wall cavities) Sea Turtles 8 (Found in water; on shore) Snakes 8 (In gardens; in buildings) Wombats 9 Marine Mammal Rescues Whales Dolphins, Seals, etc (not penguins, sea birds, sea turtles) 9 Non Native Fauna 10 Reports of Cruelty 10 For Non Native Rescues NATF Business Matters 10 Out of Area Rescues 10 Escaped Native Pets 10 Other Contacts RSPCA 10 ORRCA 10 Newcastle Animal Emergency Centre: 10 After Hours Vet (Broadmeadow) Answering the phone 11 Using the Manual 11 For further inquiries about the Native Animal Trust Fund Inc. Wildlife Rescue Service: Website: i Native Animal Trust Fund Nov 2010

3 Phone Operators : Role & Responsibilities Role: The role of a Native Animal Trust Fund Inc. Wildlife Rescue Service (NATF) Phone Operator is to link the caller with an appropriate Rescuer, Executive Member or Other Wildlife Organisation. Responsibility: Answering the phone in a professional manner that reflects positively on the NATF. Providing assistance to injured/orphaned/distressed fauna by linking caller with a rescuer or alternative assistance. Maintaining records by taking the callers details for and passing to the Coordinator monthly. Communicating all messages to other operators. Occasionally an operator will need to make certain calls and may need to make a judgement call to do the phoning themselves. Remember, if the caller is caring enough to ring the Hotline, they are caring enough to ring the rescuers. Never leave injured fauna unattended. No rescue can ever be considered too hard. For further information about NATF Wildlife Rescue Service, go to the website at How the Emergency Hot Line works For General Rescues Caller phones the NATIVE rescue line. Operator gives them 2-3 rescuers phone numbers. If no rescuers available in area, suggest transporting the fauna to a local Vet (as recommended on Phone Operators Rescuers Sheet) or RSPCA vet clinic. Rescuer performs the rescue. Rescuer takes fauna to rehabilitator or phones Species Co-ordinator or mentor to inquire where to take fauna and seeks Vet assistance when needed. Responses to Frequently Asked Questions: If a new rescuer phones wanting to know where to take fauna, remind them to contact their mentor, or give them Species Co-ordinators number or in the case of no Species Co-ordinator, another rescuers number in their area. If confronted with a new or complex situation, refer the call onto the Phone Coordinator or a member of the Executive. If you have fauna in serious trouble and no rescuer, you should ring the species co-ordinator or President for advice on what to do. NEVER leave a message in this case. 1 Native Animal Trust Fund Nov 2010

4 General Advice on what to do until help arrives. Place the animal in a secure environment eg possum, gliders, joeys, lizards in a pillowcase with the top tied securely or a bird in a box; (except parrots) birds of prey in a box never a cage an echidna in a plastic container never a cage (see echidnas); Cover the box/basket/cage with a towel as this provides a warmer environment, and reduces visual stimuli. If it is a bird, leave it alone for a few hours. Ask the caller to put the animal somewhere warm (except for platypuses, echidnas and reptiles), quiet and dark to reduce the stress on the animal. This means - not nursing it to have their photo taken, no neighbours coming to see it, away from the T. V., pet dog etc. Advise the caller not to keep checking the fauna. Ensure platypuses, echidnas and reptiles (including lizards, land turtles and marine sea turtles), are kept cool. Do not provide heat. When a rescuers is not immediately available As above Small amount of water in a container is OK, but NO food Nestling birds or baby possum/macropod joeys do need immediate rescue. Keep trying. Provide warmth. DO NOT recommend putting anything other than birds, possum/macropod joeys onto heat unless instructed otherwise by mentor or co-ordinator as heat can kill some fauna. Likewise DO NOT recommend putting fauna onto cold packs unless otherwise instructed. Birds - General Suggest the bird is placed in a cardboard box rather than a cage as it is dark and will settle the bird, and will offer more protection to the bird's feathers. With the exception of birds of prey, a cage will suffice Line the base of the box with a towel. Cover the box/cage with a towel. May provide some water in a container but do not attempt to put water in the mouth of the bird as it will easily go into the lungs. Do not feed the birds: Any G rescuer BABY BIRDS UNLESS INJURED, need to be left with its parents Fledging birds (baby birds with feathers, almost ready to fly) UNLESS INJURED, need to be left with its parents. Advise the caller to put the bird back in the tree and monitor. Nestling birds (baby birds with downy feathers) Advise the caller to return them to the nest if possible. If unable to be returned to the nest, instruct the caller to keep warm. Suggest a bottle filled with hot water wrapped in a towel placed next to the bird. Will need immediate rescue. Keep trying. Provide warmth. Any G rescuer Preferably a C (Chick-baby bird) rescuer. 2 Native Animal Trust Fund Nov 2010

5 Specific Bird Rescues Birds caught in high trees., Monitor until assistance arrives Any G rescuer or a coordinator who will arrange with other organisations such as SES, Energy Australia, to provide assistance. Or Bill Anderson of Hunter Tree Services (free service to NATF Birds caught on TV antennae., Inform the caller that the NATF can only assist when the bird is on the ground as members are not trained to climb on a roof. Explain that it is the householder s responsibility to provide for the bird s welfare and may need to request assistance from Police Rescue, SES or Volunteer rescue. Otherwise the owner (not NATF) may need to call a TV Antennae specialist, with all costs met by the owner to fetch the bird. Monitor until NATF rescuer arrives. NATF rescuer must be available to receive the injured bird when it has been rescued. Call any G rescuer; ring your coordinator who will arrange with other organisations to provide assistance. Birds trapped in a building Explain that it is the owner s responsibility to provide for the bird s welfare and may need the owner to assist eg open the store in the evening to allow for NATF member to catch the bird. Monitor until assistance arrives Any G experienced rescuer or coordinator. Specific Bird Safety Aggressive Birds such as swooping magpies, plovers or butcher birds during breeding season NATF is not licensed to remove aggressive birds. Advise the caller to contact Refer caller to local Council or.national Parks & Wildlife Service: NPWS Lake Macquarie LGA, Cessnock LGA ph (Central Coast Office) Newcastle LGA (Nelson Bay Office) Injured Birds that have a potential to be aggressive Birds of prey CAUTION caller: Care must be taken to avoid talons when handling birds of prey. Any G rescuer For eagles, give out the Raptor coordinator number as well ( ). Water birds and seabirds and other long necked birds can attack you with their beaks. CAUTION caller: Care must be taken to protect your eyes and face if handling have razor sharp beaks and can inflict awful wounds Any D or O rescuer or G rescuer Oiled birds Place in a well ventilated box, to avoid the bird breathing the fumes as much as possible and try to find out what kind of oil it is, some chemicals are quite dangerous to humans and can cause eye irritation and respiratory problems. Any G rescuer: 3 Native Animal Trust Fund Nov 2010

6 Echidnas & Playtpus Inform the caller that the snout/bill of an echidna/platypus is a very sensitive organ that can be easily damaged. NEVER USE A WIRE CAGE. Suggest a plastic container Inform the caller that Echidnas are great escape artists. Any place where they can find a point of leverage, they will use their claws to break open a container. NEVER to leave an echidna loose in your car, house or garden as they will burrow firmly into it. During the months of September to February females may have young, called a 'Puggle'. A female could have an egg in her underside or a young puggle attached to hair in her milk patch, which is under her. Or she may have a young pug, left behind in a constructed nursery burrow, close by. If during this time, request the caller to look around. Request the caller to make an exact note of where the echidna/platypus was found so that it can be returned to the exact location. Once caught, place in a cool, quiet area. They are very sensitive to heat stress. They must be -kept at a temperature below 25º C at all times. Monitor this very carefully. Never allow the echidna to be released if it has been found near road or hit by a car. It must have an x- ray, to check for snout damage DO NOT PLACE A PUGGLE ON HEAT - HEAT WILL KILL!!! Any G or E rescuer. Flying Foxes & Bats This includes all Flying Foxes-and Micro Bats: Do NOT touch. Bats and Flying Foxes have the potential to carry Lyssavirus which has been known to be fatal in humans. All have sharp teeth and the Flying Fox has been known to penetrate even welding gloves if bitten. Monitor the bat from a distance and await a vaccinated rescuer. If bitten by a bat, advise the person they MUST contact Hunter Health, Public Health Immunisation Team on Only rescuers that are vaccinated and can rescue flying foxes or bats as indicated by a F in the Manual Bats caught on TV antennae. Monitor until NATF rescuer arrives. Must go to the flying fox coordinator Only rescuers that are vaccinated and can rescue flying foxes or bats as indicated by a F in the Manual. Bats caught on electricity wires, especially during November when young are carried on the mothers. Monitor until NATF or Energy Australia arrives Phone Energy Australia (131888) and an F person must attend to receive the flying fox when it is rescued. 4 Native Animal Trust Fund Nov 2010

7 Koala on the ground Koalas Place the koala in a secure environment eg in a box or laundry basket) Cover the box/basket with a towel as this provides a warmer environment, and reduces visual stimuli. Ask the caller to put the animal somewhere warm quiet and dark to reduce the stress on the animal. This means - no kids nursing it to have their photo taken, no neighbours coming to see it, away from the T. V., pet dog etc. Advise the caller not to keep checking the koala. Any G or K person can pick up a Koala that is on the ground, Koala up in a tree Request the caller to provide exact location for assistance. Request the caller to monitor until assistance arrives. Only a K person with special rescue equipment to get it down Or disaster Committee Member Lizards & Land Turtles Goannas up a telegraph pole Monitor until Energy Australia arrives If bitten, advise tetanus injection. Phone Energy Australia and an S person must attend to receive the goanna when it is rescued. If no one available from NATF then phone Reptile Rescue Land Turtles crossing a road. Ask the caller if the turtle is injured. If not, return to exact location and place turtle on the side of the road in which it was headed. Only to be taken into care if injured. Any G person Land Turtles with broken shells. Do not put in water. Keep dry Any G person 5 Native Animal Trust Fund Nov 2010

8 Macropods Joey Macropods Place the animal in a secure environment eg in a pillowcase with the top tied securely or Cover the box/basket/cage with a towel as this provides a warmer environment, and reduces visual stimuli. Ask the caller to put the joey macropod somewhere warm, quiet and dark to reduce the stress on the animal. This means - no kids nursing it to have their photo taken, no neighbours coming to see it, away from the T. V., pet dog etc. Advise the caller not to keep checking the fauna. If a Joey macropod is cold or has no fur, ask caller to place a hot water bottle (even a drink bottle will do) filled with hot tap water only, wrapped in cloth, next to (never underneath) the joey. An adult kangaroo with a furred pouch joey or joey on it s own that is furred goes to a G rescuer. A pinkie joey needs urgent attention and an M rescuer should be called over a G rescuer if possible. However can go to a G rescuer if no M rescuers are available Joeys do need immediate rescue. Keep trying Adult Macropods To monitor until NATF rescuer arrives. An adult kangaroo goes to a G rescuer. An adult kangaroo with a furred pouch joey or joey on it s own that is furred goes to a G rescuer. Native Rodents & Bandicoots Including Bandicoots, Phasagales & Antechinus Place the animal in a secure environment eg in a pillowcase with the top tied securely, box lined with a towel; Cover the box/basket/cage with a towel as this provides a warmer environment, and reduces visual stimuli. Ask the caller to put the animal somewhere warm, quiet and dark to reduce the stress on the animal. This means - no kids nursing it to have their photo taken, no neighbours coming to see it, away from the T. V., pet dog etc. Advise the caller not to keep checking the fauna. Babies need to be kept warm until a rescuer arrives: Provide warmth by filling an old cordial/drinks bottle with hot water from the tap. Any G rescuer. 6 Native Animal Trust Fund Nov 2010

9 Dingoes & Quolls Quolls: Place the animal in a secure environment. Cover the box/basket/cage with a towel as this provides a warmer environment, and reduces visual stimuli. Ask the caller to put the animal somewhere warm, quiet and dark to reduce the stress on the animal. This means - no kids nursing it to have their photo taken, no neighbours coming to see it, away from the T. V., pet dog etc. Advise the caller not to keep checking the quoll. Baby quolls need to be kept warm until a rescuer arrives: Provide warmth by filling an old cordial/drinks bottle with hot water from the tap. Place baby quolls in a pillowslip and secure. Advise CAUTION. Do not grab by the tail as quolls can turn and bite, scratch and may climb you; If bitten, advise tetanus injection. Any G rescuer Dingoes Background There is a protected group of dingoes in. the Myall National Park. However, once a dingo leaves the park it is no longer protected and cannot be taken into care as it will become humanised. Dingoes on private property- owners responsibility; RSPCA DIngo pups Bargo Dingo Sanctuary Possums & Gliders Place the possum/glider in a secure environment eg a pillowcase with the top tied securely or a box. Cover with a towel to create a warm environment, and reduces visual stimuli. Ask the caller to put the animal somewhere warm and quiet to reduce the stress on the animal. This means - no kids nursing it to have their photo taken, no neighbours coming to see it, away from the T. V., pet dog etc. Any G rescuer Joey possum or glider: Check with the caller if it is cold or if it has fur, If cold or has no fur, request the caller to place a hot water bottle (even a drink bottle will do) filled with hot tap water only, wrapped in cloth, next to (never underneath) the joey. Place the joey in a secure environment eg pillowcase and secure and follow instructions above. A Joey without a mother and no fur is a pinkie joey and needs urgent attention; A P rescuer should be called over a G rescuer if possible. Possum in a roofs or wall cavities/garages etc Inform the caller that NATF cannot remove possums from roofs etc. Inform the caller that they need to get the possum's entry point fixed so the possum cannot re-enter, as the possum will be released in the same area as it was contained. An NATF member can take the possum into care AFTER Wallsend Pest Control has contained it. Walsend Pest Control , Fee for service 7 Native Animal Trust Fund Nov 2010

10 For Sea Turtles in the water Snakes in gardens. Inquire if the caller can still see the snake. If not, inform the caller there is nothing that the NATF can do. If the caller is still concerned, recommend a professional snake removalist (Reptile Rescue O , fee for service). If snake is visible, refer caller to trained NATF snake handler. If the snake is still visible, rescuers that are specifically trained and approved to handle snakes indicated by S in Manual. Give out Reptile Rescue Barry & Judy O Fee for Service as third contact details in case no snake handler is available in the area. Sea Turtles Bring to the shore by the carapace (shell) not by the flippers, or hold it s head above water for it to breathe. Avoid where possible touching with bare hands. Once on shore, cover with a wet towel. Monitor until assistance arrives. For Sea Turtles on shore Do not touch with bare hands. Cover with a wet towel. Monitor until NATF rescuer arrives. Preferably a T otherwise a G rescuer For large Sea Turtles, the NATF Turtle harness is kept with Audrey Koosmen or Zane Dean For sea turtles calls, whether alive or dead, directly involve the coordinator or NPWS Snakes Snakes in buildings Request the caller confine the snake by closing a door or pushing towels under door to confine snake to enhance the potential for capture and removal Monitor from a distance if possible. Only rescuers that are specifically trained and approved to handle snakes indicated by S in Manual Give out Reptile Rescue Barry & Judy O Fee for Service as third contact details in case no snake handler is available in the area. 8 Native Animal Trust Fund Nov 2010

11 Wombats CAUTION the caller in handling all wombats, including a joey, and to treat all wombats as if it had mange until it is proven incorrect. Advise the caller to use barrier techniques - wear rubber gloves; don't hold the wombat against the body without a plastic sheet between the person and the joey in the pouch. Advise against being tempted to put a joey down inside their shirt to keep it warm as this is a very effective way to catch mange! All wombats with mange should come into treatment to ensure the disease in not spread. Keep the wombat cool. Wombats are nocturnal, burrowing animals - they do not tolerate temperatures above 28 º C. Under no circumstances should they ever be left in the hot sun or in a hot car. Any G rescuer NATF members with access to a wombat trap. Joey wombat: Place the joey in a secure environment eg pillowcase and secure Cover with a towel or rug. Check with the caller if it is cold or if it has fur, If cold or has no fur, request the caller to place a hot water bottle (even a drink bottle will do) filled with hot tap water only, wrapped in cloth, next to (never underneath) the joey. Any G rescuer Dolphins, Seals, Whales Marine Mammal Rescues (Not penguins, sea birds, sea turtles) For weekday give caller weekday National Parks Wildlife Service number for caller to contact directly For after hours (A/H) calls. Operator takes callers name, phone number and details. Advise caller they will be contacted for more precise directions by ORRCA or NPWS shortly. Operator calls NPWS (never give caller these after hours numbers), leave callers contact details and nature of problem; Operator may also need to contact ORRCA (ph ) to perform the rescue. Notify them that NPWS have been notified. ORRCA ARE THE LICENCED GROUP FOR MARINE MAMMALS NATF CAN ASSIST IF NEEDED. ORRCA 24HR HOTLINE Native Animal Trust Fund Nov 2010

12 Non Native Fauna Direct non native fauna to RSPCA. They have a separate system for non-native fauna eg dogs, cats, foxes, starlings, rabbits etc Stray Horse & Cattle Local Council Racing & Banded Pigeons: Pigeon Fancier/ New Lambton ph or Bill Boland Foxes, Rabbits, Wild Dogs as pests, etc: Rural Lands Board. ph Swarming Bee Check Yellow Pages Bees Reports of Cruelty For native fauna, give the caller the local NPWS weekday phone number and ask them to ring during business hours. Advise the caller that it is no use them reporting the cruelty to you as you cannot pass on hearsay information to NPWS. They need to hear it from the caller. Likewise cruelty to non native fauna needs to be reported to local RSPCA office by the caller. RSPCA ANIMAL CRUELTY For Non Rescues NATF Business Matters Caller phones our 0418 NATIVE rescue line. Referred to the Executive see the last newsletter to ascertain to whom the caller should be referred Out of Area Rescues Caller phones our 0418 NATIVE rescue line. Operator explains that we don t cover that area and give them that areas Volunteer Wildlife Group number. See back of rescue sheets for these number. Native Escaped Pets Eg, talking cockatoos, direct to RSPCA. RSPCA Other Contacts The RSPCA Vet Clinics at Rutherford & Tighes Hill take in native fauna. The RSPCA Animal Shelter does not. Both premises DO NOT operate on a Sunday so do not direct fauna there on Sundays or Public Holidays If a caller lives close to an RSPCA premises and no rescuer is available, direct the caller to take fauna to the RSPCA. The NATF has a roster to collect fauna from RSPCA daily, so this is often a good option. RSPCA: Rutherford 6-10 Burlington Pl, Rutherford Animal Shelter M-F 8.30am to 6.00pm; Sat 8.30am to 11.30am. Sun & P/H Closed Vet Clinic Ambulance RSPCA Tighes Hill 75 Elizabeth St, Tighes Hill Vet Clinic: M-F 8.30am to 6.00pm Sat 8.30 to 11.30am Sunday Closed ORRCA ORRCA is contacted for marine mammal strandings, eg beached whales, sick or injured dolphins and seals. They perform the rescue not NATF rescuers. NATF rescuers can often be called to go to the location to confirm the report or to assist ORRCA on Newcastle Animal Emergency Centre The Newcastle Animal Emergency Centre, 4 Lang Rd. Broadmeadow, offers an after hours vet service to NATF. If the caller can take injured fauna there, they have the names of some rehabilitators they can call upon or they will ring the 0500 line and request us for rescuers contacts. Open 6pm to 8am 10 Native Animal Trust Fund Nov 2010

13 Answering the phone Native Animal Trust Fund, Wildlife Rescue Service (Never just answer the phone with hello ) How may I help you? Identify the type of fauna and problem location of fauna (suburb) Request the caller to have pen & paper ready as you will provide them with local rescuers details Provide 2-3 rescuers first names & phone numbers (Never give out surnames) Some useful hints Remember the most important thing is to get the fauna into care Always be polite to caller even if they are rude or impatient Never tell a caller that the fauna will be euthanased Never challenge what the person is telling you. Never tell a caller they have done the wrong thing. Suggest some advice for the future next time you find a sick possum, might I suggest that you ring the 0500 line sooner as often time is critical to some animals Never give out contact details of any NATF member if asked to do so by a caller ringing in looking for a specific person. Ask caller for their name & phone number and explain you will ring the person and get them to ring you. Using the Manual Abbreviations LGA Local Council Area - Local Shire area NATF Native Animal Trust Fund Inc Wildlife Rescue Service TBA Information - To Be Advised we don t have correct information yet NPWS National Park Wildlife Service ORRCA O Organisation for the R-Rescue and R-research of C-Cetaceans in A-Australia. They handle rescues of stranded, sick or injured marine mammals: whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions. Rescue Codes G For general fauna. This means that any G rescuer can collect any fauna except Snakes, Bats-Flying Foxes or Micro Bats S Snakes. Only members specifically trained and approved are permitted to handle snakes F Flying Foxes, Bats including Micro Bats Only members vaccinated can rescue flying foxes or bats K Koala E Echidna M Macropod pinkies only P Possum Pinkies only L Lizards (excluding goannas) & Land Turtles N Native Rodents R Raptors W Wombats C Chick baby Birds (no feathers) D Water Birds including Ducks Pelicans, Swans & Wading Birds O Oceanic birds Penguins, Shearwaters, Gannets & Albatross T Sea Turtles dead or alive need to be rescued An example of how to use the codes would be: Possums. An adult possum with out pouch babies goes to a G rescuer. An adult possum with pouch young needs urgent attention therefore a P person can be called upon to rescue in this case instead of a G person. Joeys without mother and no fur is a pinkie joey and needs urgent attention; and a P rescuer should be called over a G rescuer if possible. A baby on it s own that is furred can go to a G rescuer. Koala any G person can pick up a Koala that is on the ground, but if it is up a pole or tree you need a K person with special rescue equipment to get it down 11 Native Animal Trust Fund Nov 2010