WRAM is an organization designed to be a collaborative group where the membership and the board of directors’ work together for the benefit of wildlife in Massachusetts. We work to achieve these benefits through WRAM’s core objectives, which are:
- To promote the communication and dissemination of information among the wildlife rehabilitation community
- To provide educational materials and resources to the residents of Massachusetts
- To support the conservation of wildlife and natural resources in Massachusetts
- To foster partnerships between licensed wildlife rehabilitators and governmental agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
In support of these objectives we ask that all WRAM members hold themselves to a high standard of professional conduct. Please review the organizational code of ethics and membership communication guidelines outlined below. Violation of these rules may result in revocation of membership.
Note: WRAM’s code of conduct is not intended to supplant any regulations, statutes, or guidance provided by State and Federal Wildlife Agencies. WRAM members are expected to adhere to all laws and regulations governing the rehabilitation and treatment of wildlife in the territory in which they operate.
Code of Ethics as Adapted from the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association Council:
- A wildlife rehabilitator should strive to achieve high standards of animal care through knowledge and an understanding of the field. Wildlife rehabilitators should strive to remain informed of current rehabilitation information, methods, and regulations through participation in continuing education.
- A wildlife rehabilitator must abide by local, state, provincial and federal laws concerning wildlife, wildlife rehabilitation, and associated activities. Massachusetts State regulations governing the care of wildlife can be found here.
- A wildlife rehabilitator should establish safe work habits and conditions, abiding by current health and safety practices and should work continuously toward improving the quality of care given to wild animals undergoing rehabilitation.
- A wildlife rehabilitator should work within the scope of practice when providing care to patients and should maintain a working relationship with veterinarians including their veterinarian of record.
- A wildlife rehabilitator should respect other rehabilitators and persons in related fields, sharing skills and knowledge in the spirit of cooperation for the welfare of animals.
- A wildlife rehabilitator should conduct all business, activities, and communications in a professional manner, with honesty, integrity, compassion, and commitment, realizing that an individual’s conduct reflects on the entire field of wildlife rehabilitation.
- A wildlife rehabilitator should encourage community involvement through volunteer training and public education. The common goal should be to promote a responsible concern for living beings and the welfare of the environment.
WRAM Membership Communication Guidelines:
One of the most valuable services WRAM provides is a community for its members to share information and resources. This communication allows members to benefit from the collective knowledge-sets and experiences of licensed rehabilitators and wildlife professionals across New England. Positive and cooperative communication serves to strengthen the abilities of all who care for wildlife. It also engages the general public and helps to guide their perception and response to wildlife issues.
To preserve these benefits, we ask that WRAM members follow the guidelines below when communicating in public forums such as: social media, websites, wildlife forums, message boards, etc.
- Keep conversations productive and be kind. Education and friendly discussion are always encouraged, but do not criticize or disparage other members, other wildlife rehabilitators, government agencies, government employees, or veterinarians.
- If you have concerns or disagree with the protocols of another wildlife rehabilitator, please refrain from posting publicly in a way that is harmful to that person. We encourage members to resolve issues one-on-one, but if you are not comfortable or need assistance, WRAM is happy to help. If you have concerns about the Safety of an animal or are concerned someone is violating the regulations, please contact WRAM leadership or MA Fish and Wildlife directly.
- Racist, sexist, or discriminatory language of any type will not be tolerated and will result in revocation of membership.
- All advice dispensed and promoted must be in keeping with all applicable state and federal laws, rules, and regulations. This includes social media content as well as consultations with other rehabilitators and members of the public.
- All photos, videos, posts and comments must be in keeping with state and federal laws, rules, and regulations. Proper protective equipment (latex gloves, leather gloves, masks, face shields, hard hats or other species specific equipment) should always be evident in all photos. In general, public forums should be used to promote the wellbeing of wildlife and public education.
MacIntosh’s Rehabilitation Story
By Jane Seeker, Vice-president of WRAM and founder of Newhouse Wildlife Rescue
Macintosh is a leucistic eastern gray squirrel who came to us after he had been found lying on the side of the road. He presented with severe head trauma. He was barely responsive. In the coming days it became clear that he had no use of his back legs and was unable to urinate on his own. We went back and forth as to whether or not he could be rehabilitated. X-rays didn’t reveal any spinal fractures, so we decided to give him some time.
He was placed on anti-inflammatory pain medication. We expressed his bladder multiple times a day. He had to be hand fed because he could barely lift his head. Within three days he began to urinate on his own. We were happy to see this progress, though because he couldn’t move, this meant he needed to be bathed frequently. Each day we saw improvement – though very minor. He began to hold up his head easier and started to have more control over his front paws.
After 10 days we started to consider euthanasia as he still was unable to use his back legs and we began to think he never would. On day 11, Macintosh finally showed some movement of his rear limbs when he scratched his left ear with his left hind leg. We are all ecstatic to see this! This meant he really had a chance at a full recovery.
He had very limited control of his back limbs and his movements were not graceful by any means. It took months for him to fully recover – but he eventually did. Macintosh was released, in March, just four months after his accident.
1 in every 100,000 gray squirrels are white. I don’t know the survival rate of squirrels that are hit by cars, but I know there aren’t many that walk away from this kind of injury.
Macintosh’s story motivated me as a rehabber because it reminded me of what animals can come back from. It showed me how much determination they can have. It is difficult sometimes to know when to try and when to humanely euthanize. For me, as long as I see signs of improvement and the animal is not suffering, I always try. In cases like this, it is worth it and it reminds me of why I became a wildlife rehabilitator in the first place.
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Every year hundreds of healthy fawn are taken into captivity by well meaning people who just don’t know any better.
A fawn lying alone, such as the one pictured here, does not need help! Mother deer “park” their babies in the open to keep them safe from predators such as foxes.
Finding a fawn alone is perfectly normal.
How do I know if a fawn needs help?
You will know if a fawn needs help if the following happens:
- It is lying flat out, head and legs away from its body, unresponsive.
- It is running around frantically screaming for over an hour.
- It has been attacked or has obvious life-threatening wounds.
If any of the above are true, contact:
The “Wild Mammal Babies” 3rd edition is available at Chris’s Squirrels and More. There are always new medicines, changes in vaccines, and new rehab practices which makes it tricky but we wouldn’t want it any other way. At each printing we update and add new information. This year, we added more natural history for each species. Several vaccines are no longer available and the vaccine proto-cols have been updated. In particular, for raccoon rehabbers, there is a study that recommends the last canine distemper and feline panleukopenia vaccine be given after 20 weeks to ensure protection against these diseases. We also added to the disease section, particularly Parvo disease and treatment. This is such a devastating disease. For those who have the 2nd Edition, we wanted to give you a list of the major changes so you can update your copy. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “updates” and you will get the document in a return email.