Four-day EUROWA Advanced Responder training held in Finland
With travel restrictions easing, EUROWA has been able to resume some in-person training courses, continuing critical hands-on training that was put on hold during COVID. In March, twelve people from four countries attended the Advanced Responder course in Finland.
The course was hosted by WWF Finland and the Helsinki Zoo Wildlife Hospital, with classroom sessions held at the WWF offices and practical exercises taking place at the zoo. Claude Velter and Isabelle Allemeersch, of the Wildife Rescue Centre Ostende (WRCO), led the training with Vanessa Ryan of WWF Finland assisting.
The EUROWA Advanced Responder training has four main objectives:
• Training on rescue, collection and preparation for transport procedures
• Understanding of how oil impacts wildlife
• Training on animal care, husbandry and washing procedures in an oiled wildlife facility
• Training on appropriate release procedures
Certified Advanced Responders are a crucial part of the workforce in an oiled wildlife response, so they need to have an in-depth understanding of the objectives and methodology of oiled wildlife rehabilitation. Many of the Advanced Responders work or volunteer at wildlife rehabilitation centres or are part of EUROWA member organisations’ volunteer workforce.
On all four days of the course, mornings were devoted to classroom theory sessions and afternoons to skills sessions. Areas of training included Field Response (both rescue and release), prewash care, washing and drying of oiled wildlife, and management of the pools which are an important aspect of post wash conditioning and management. Throughout the course, trainees were evaluated by trainers.
The EUROWA-2 project is allowing the pool of EUROWA-trained responders in Europe to grow significantly. All 12 participants were certified as EUROWA Advanced Responders and Vanessa Ryan was certified as a trainer. Many participants expressed interest in further training within their own countries, raising awareness of the importance of cooperation at the European level, and encouraging their governments to plan and prepare for oiled wildlife response.
In addition, there was significant radio and television coverage of the event, which will help to raise public and government awareness of the importance of having trained oiled wildlife responders for a safe and effective response.