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Veterinarian (top left), Basic (top right) and Advanced (bottom left) Training courses. Finish Roboduck (bottom right)

Increasing pool of EUROWA-Trained responders in Finland

WWF Finland has continued the Finnish training program for volunteers and experts in late 2023 and early 2024.

An advanced responder course was arranged in November 2023 in collaboration with two experienced trainers from Germany. Despite the cold winter weather, the 15 Finnish, 1 German and 2 Estonian course participants showed great interest and determination and were all successfully certified as advanced responders. Fun fact: did you know that we usually use chocolate spread to simulate the stickiness of oil during training courses? Well, we won’t be using it in Finland anymore, as the cold temperature led to the chocolate solidifying. From now on, our Finnish colleagues will be sticking to liquorice sauce!

November 2023 also saw the first ever EUROWA specialist veterinarian course to be held in Finland. This was an important milestone, as the lack of trained veterinarians was identified as a problem during the process of drafting the Finnish national oiled wildlife response plan. Over two days, 10 veterinarians from Finland, as well as vets from the UK, Poland and Ireland, and trainers from the Netherlands and Finland, gathered for theoretical and practical sessions as well as tabletop exercises.

The basic course in Helsinki in April 2024 was also organised in snowy and cold conditions, as trainees gathered for a morning of lectures and an afternoon of practical exercises focusing on search, capture and collection as well as tube feeding of birds. Both the brand new Finnish Roboduck (pictured below) and the 14 participants managed on the snowy beach.

In total, the courses led to 46 new European training qualifications. For Finland, the events were important also for new trainers: one new advanced responder trainer’s certification, one new veterinarian trainer’s certification and two new basic trainer’s certifications were completed during the courses!

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