En­gage

Canadian Wildlife - - CONTENTS -

News, events and up­dates on con­ser­va­tion, ed­u­ca­tion and en­gage­ment projects from the Cana­dian Wildlife Fed­er­a­tion

With the dev­as­tat­ing loss of 17 rare North At­lantic Right Whales, 2017 was a par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult year for ma­rine mam­mal con­ser­va­tion. Sean Brillant, a Se­nior Ma­rine Con­ser­va­tion Bi­ol­o­gist with the Cana­dian Wildlife Fed­er­a­tion, hopes Cana­di­ans won’t soon for­get the tragedy WHAT CAUSES MA­RINE AN­I­MAL EMER­GEN­CIES?

Ma­rine wildlife can be­come dis­tressed for many rea­sons. Some causes are nat­u­ral, like storms, preda­tors or dis­ease, but oth­ers are due to ship­ping, fish­ing and other hu­man ac­tiv­i­ties. Every year more than 1,000 ma­rine an­i­mal in­ci­dents are re­ported in Canada in­volv­ing dozens of dif­fer­ent species such as whales, dol­phins, por­poises, seals, sea lions, sea tur­tles and sharks.

Re­gard­less of the cause, it’s im­por­tant that we re­spond be­cause it is a chance for us to learn about how these an­i­mals live and what they’re af­fected by. This al­lows us to con­serve ma­rine wildlife by know­ing how we should change our ac­tiv­i­ties in the ocean so that we do not harm ma­rine wildlife.

WHY DO YOU THINK CANADA NEEDS THE WATCH?

In or­der for us to do our job, we need peo­ple that spend time on Canada’s coast to join The Watch. The Watch is a pro­gram that will help mem­bers of the pub­lic — the beach-go­ers, boaters, pad­dlers, fish­ers, coastal res­i­dents and more — to un­der­stand how to iden­tify a ma­rine an­i­mal emer­gency and what to do in these sit­u­a­tions. They’re ba­si­cally the first re­spon­ders who can make sure peo­ple stay safe and im­prove our abil­ity to con­serve wildlife. And of course, they’ll make the cru­cial call to their lo­cal ma­rine re­sponse net­work to re­port the in­ci­dent.

WHY IS IT SO IM­POR­TANT FOR CANA­DI­ANS TO ED­U­CATE THEM­SELVES ABOUT WHAT TO DO IN A MA­RINE AN­I­MAL EMER­GENCY? WHY NOT JUST LEAVE IT EN­TIRELY TO THE EX­PERTS?

The re­gional net­works of re­sponse spe­cial­ists are not con­stantly mon­i­tor­ing our coasts, so it’s cru­cial that every one of us who has the priv­i­lege to spend time on a coast keep a watch­ful eye out for ma­rine an­i­mals in dis­tress. It’s our

re­spon­si­bil­ity to re­port these sit­u­a­tions, and to know who ex­actly to re­port these in­ci­dents to. With­out proper re­port­ing, these an­i­mals could go un­de­tected or the re­sponse could be de­layed. The longer it takes for a re­sponse team to ar­rive, the more in­for­ma­tion is lost.

WHAT WOULD YOU HOPE SOME­ONE WHO’S TAKEN PART IN THE WATCH PRO­GRAM WOULD BE ABLE TO DO IF THEY STUM­BLED UPON A MA­RINE AN­I­MAL EMER­GENCY?

Firstly, we want to help Cana­di­ans learn what is and is not an emer­gency. For ex­am­ple, seals and sea lions reg­u­larly leave the ocean to rest on a beach, so when these events are re­ported, a re­sponse is not needed, but of­ten peo­ple mis­un­der­stand this as an emer­gency that re­quires a re­sponse.

When there truly is an emer­gency, it’s im­por­tant that ev­ery­one stays safe and that no one, de­lib­er­ately or mis­tak­enly, in­ter­acts with a ma­rine an­i­mal (live or dead) and jeop­ar­dizes its sur­vival or an ap­pro­pri­ate eval­u­a­tion of its sit­u­a­tion. For ex­am­ple, many peo­ple who hap­pen upon a live an­i­mal on a beach will want to try to keep it wet or even get it back in the wa­ter. It’s in­cred­i­bly dan­ger­ous to ap­proach any wildlife an­i­mal — and ma­rine wildlife tend to be quite large — so it’s best to steer clear! De­spite the best in­ten­tions, it’s pos­si­ble you could even harm the an­i­mal by han­dling it or drag­ging it. You might ac­tu­ally make the sit­u­a­tion worse. The best thing you can do is re­port the in­ci­dent to the ap­pro­pri­ate re­sponse net­work, take lots of pho­tos, and stand by to make sure no one else gets close or harms the an­i­mal. I know this goes against what many peo­ple want to do, but it re­ally is the best thing to do. These are com­pli­cated sit­u­a­tions and re­quire spe­cial­ized train­ing and ev­ery­one would hate to cause more harm than good.

WHAT WILL THE EX­PERTS DO WHEN THEY AR­RIVE AT THE SCENE?

Re­sponse spe­cial­ists will ex­am­ine the an­i­mal and de­cide if an­other course of ac­tion is needed. If the an­i­mal is alive and in dan­ger, they may at­tempt to res­cue the an­i­mal, but if the an­i­mal is dead, they’ll col­lect tis­sues and take pho­tos and they may de­cide a full-scale necropsy is needed. They will also usu­ally speak with peo­ple on the scene to get in­for­ma­tion and to ed­u­cate spec­ta­tors about the sit­u­a­tion.

How much do you know about ma­rine an­i­mals and what it takes to keep them safe? Take The Watch quiz to find out at marinean­i­mal­re­sponse.ca!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.