Irish Wildlife Rehabilitation Conference 2012

An fhiadhúlra athshlánúcháin chomhdháil na hireann





Saturday 29th September - Open Attendance
Sunday 30th September - Veterinary Professionals, CPD event - 7.5 to 9.5 CVE credits


Programme – 29th September 2012

Venue The Pillo Hotel (Formerly the Marriott Hotel), Ashbourne, Co Meath
Delegates Open Attendance


Stream One
Stream Two
Registration & Coffee
Welcome address
09.15 National Parks and Wildlife Service’s role in rehabilitation Ciaran O’Keeffe 09.15 Wildlife feeding and nutrition Lynn Miller
09.40  Mammal first aid and common conditions   Emma Keeble 10.15 Wildlife crime - we are all responsible... David Wilson
11.00 Bat rescue, treatment and care David Couper 11.00 Badger rehabilitation and release principles Liz Mullineaux
11.50 Bird rescue and basic care Lynn Miller      
Lunch & Exhibitions
13.35 Post release monitoring of wildlife casualties Adam Grogan 13.35 Hedgehog common conditions Emma Keeble
      Hedgehog natural history and post release studies Pat Morris
14.00 Practical: Mammals, Bats, Birds    
Coffee 15.10 - 15.30
  Sinead Kelly, Lynn M, David C, Liz M      


  15.30 Squirrel first aid and rehabilitation Tiffany Blackett
Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland
Raffle and Questions

Evening Session
Venue: The Pillo Hotel (Formerly the Marriott Hotel), Ashbourne, Co Meath



Evening Talk & local Bat Walk!

Conor Kelleher



Programme – 30th  September 2012

Venue The Pillo Hotel (Formerly the Marriott Hotel), Ashbourne, Co Meath
Delegates Veterinary Professionals


Stream One
Stream Two
Registration & Coffee
Welcome address
09.15 National Parks and Wildlife Service’s role in rehabilitation Ann Fitzpatrick 09.15 Wildlife care in the vet clinic Liz Mullineaux
09.40  Mammal first aid and common conditions   Emma Keeble 10.15 Wildlife crime - we are all responsible... David Wilson
11.00 Handling and veterinary care of bats David Couper 11.00 Squirrel common conditions and treatment Tiffany Blackett
11.50 Bird rescue and basic care Lynn Miller    
Lunch & Exhibitions
13.35 Post release monitoring of wildlife casualties Adam Grogan 13.35 Hedgehog common conditions Emma Keeble
      Hedgehog natural history and post release studies Pat Morris
14.00 Practical: Mammals, Bats, Birds    
Coffee 15.10 - 15.30
  Sinead Kelly, Lynn M, David C, Liz M    


  15.30 Badger rehabilitation and release principles Liz Mullineaux
Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland
Raffle and Questions

Evening Session
Venue: The Pillo Hotel (Formerly the Marriott Hotel) Ashbourne, Co Meath



"From Bears to Bullfinches"

Andrew Kelly



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  • Tiffany Blackett

Tiffany graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 1996 and in January 2002, after a period of working in small animal veterinary practice, she spent 15 months with the team at Wildlife Information Network (WIN) as Education Officer.
Before joining the team as Scientific Officer at Twycross Zoo in 2012, Tiffany was employed as a consulting veterinary surgeon for the JSPCA Animals’ Shelter in Jersey where she also worked as an Animal Welfare Inspector, a role which involved closely liaising with the States of Jersey Police and the States of Jersey Veterinary Officer in the investigation of cases of alleged cruelty or mistreatment of companion animals and wildlife.
Whilst at this Jersey charity, Tiffany was responsible for the treatment and rehabilitation of casualty wildlife and in 2007 she instigated the development of the Jersey Red Squirrel Disease Monitoring Project, which is an on-going project looking at the significance and prevalence of disease in the red squirrel population of Jersey. This red squirrel disease surveillance scheme is vital in the monitoring for the presence of disease in the Jersey red squirrels, the study of which is essential to help protect and maintain the health and welfare of this unique population. Tiffany continues to coordinate and manage the Jersey red squirrel disease surveillance.
Tiffany has a special interest in animal welfare, wildlife and conservation and is passionate about red squirrels.


  • David Couper

I have been the wildlife veterinary officer at the RSPCA's West Hatch Wildlife Centre in Somerset for the past 7 years, where I mainly work with native wildlife. I also work with companion animals in the Domestic Centre which deals with Inspectorate-generated animals - cruelty cases, abandonments etc.
Prior to that I worked in mixed practice for about 5 years, and did an MSc in Wild Animal Health at the Royal Veterinary College / Institute of Zoology.
I have been to Canada a couple of times to do voluntary work on a Swift Fox reintroduction program.


  • Ann Fitzpatrick

NPWS Conservation Ranger Wicklow Mountains National Park


  • Adam Grogan

Since 2000 Adam Grogan BSc (Hons) MIEEM, has been working for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) as their Wildlife Rehabilitation Co-ordinator. In this capacity he advises on policy with regards to casualty wildlife and facilitates research into methods of rehabilitating wild animals and how these methods can be improved to aid survival of these casualties. The RSPCA has conducted a number of studies on the survival of such animals using methods such as radio-tracking and ringing to monitor the animals after release.

He has a strong research background and has undertaken projects covering a range of species. These include a critique of available methods for monitoring rabbit populations and investigating the effectiveness of mitigation used to prevent otter (Lutra lutra), and other mammalian, road casualties. He has experience in surveying and radio-tracking a number of mammal species, including badgers (Meles meles) polecats (Mustela putorius), mink (Neovison vison) and water voles (Arvicola terrestris).

Adam’s background therefore is based in mammals and his favourite mammals are otters.

Adam joined the Board of Directors of the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council in 2011, is Vice Chair of The Mammal Society for Britain and Ireland having previously served as Honorary Secretary and also sits on the Executive Committee of the British Council for Wildlife Rehabilitation (BWRC).


  • Emma Keeble

Emma graduated from the University of Bristol in 1994 and gained initial experience in a mixed veterinary practice, before becoming a wildlife veterinarian for the RSPCA and then operating a small animal exotic referral service.
In 1999 she joined the University of Edinburgh Exotic Animal and Wildlife Service as a Resident in Zoo and Wildlife Medicine and obtained the RCVS certificate in Zoological Medicine. She then gained the post of Lecturer within the Service teaching veterinary students and lecturing in exotic animal, zoo and wildlife medicine. She gained her RCVS Diploma in Zoological Medicine (Mammalian) in 2006 and achieved specialist status in 2007, one of only a handful of UK vets to hold these qualifications.
She lectures to veterinary professionals nationally and internationally on exotic pet, zoo and wildlife medicine. She is published widely in veterinary books on exotic pets, wildlife casualties, reptile neurology and rabbit neurology, and has edited books on rabbit, ferret and rodent medicine and surgery and wildlife casualties. She is responsible for the Wildlife Emergency Clinic at Edinburgh Vet
school, which takes in wildlife casualties and emergencies brought in by the public. This is the first such clinic in the UK and provides a unique teaching opportunity for students, nursing staff and veterinary residents as well as providing triage and first aid to British Wildlife.


  • Conor Kelleher

Conor has specialised in the study of bats since the mid-1980s and is currently licensed to catch these animals for educational and scientific purposes. He was a Bat Warden for English Nature (now Natural England) in the UK from 1989 to 1999 and has published many articles and papers on these animals and presented papers on bat ecology at international conferences and symposia. He is a part-time lecturer on bat ecology at University College Cork and provides tutoring and courses in bat ecology, survey methods, identification and detection to interested parties which have included National Parks and Wildlife Service personnel, environmental consultants, Zoology students etc.

Conor has undertaken research on bats in Ireland and the UK such as capture and marking, radio-telemetry and distribution studies including research-based projects on the lesser horseshoe bat for the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Vincent Wildlife Trust and he compiled the National Lesser Horseshoe Bat Database for the NPWS in 2003.

He was involved in drafting the National Roads Authority’s Guidelines on Bat Conservation during the Planning and Construction of Road Schemes and recently co-authored the Bat Mitigation Guidelines for Ireland for the Irish Government.

Since 2001, he has been self-employed as an ecological consultant undertaking terrestrial mammal and bird surveys and habitat mapping, specialising in assessment of bats for constraint studies, road route selection, pre-construction, Environmental Impact Assessment and mitigation. To date, he has been involved in over 400 ecological surveys for various developments such as road, quarry, landfill and residential and commercial projects.
Conor is past Secretary and Trustee of the UK Bat Conservation Trust (1998-2003) and is the current Chairman of Bat Conservation Ireland and the Cork County Bat Group. He is also past Chairman of the Irish Wildlife Trust (2003-2008). As part of such voluntary positions, he has organised and participated in several national bat conferences and national and international bat workshops in both the UK and Ireland.

Conor is a member of the Heritage Council’s Bat Specialist Panel and the Ecologist Panel of the National Parks and Wildlife Service. He is an Associate Member of both the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management and the Chartered Quality Institute. In 2009, he co-produced an interactive DVD on Irish bats entitled ‘Knowing, Studying and Conserving the Bats of Ireland’ and is currently writing an accompanying book entitled: ‘The Bats of Ireland - Natural History, Ecology and Conservation’.


  • Andrew Kelly

Andrew is a landscape and wildlife photographer living in Duleek, Co Meath.
Andrew has been a wildlife enthusiast from a young age. He took up photography in earnest in about 1995 and coupled his interest in photography with his fascination for wildlife.
Over the past 12 years Andrew has travelled extensively in order to photograph wildlife in their natural habitat. Alaska, Iceland, New Zealand and Asia are just a few of the countries he’s visited in search of wildlife.

Andrew’s photography regularly appears is several wildlife magazines such as the Irish Wildlife Trust’s magazine ‘Irish Wildlife’, and BirdWatch Ireland’s magazine ‘Wings’. His photographs have been printed in many wildlife books, and used extensively on RTE and the BBC.
In 2010 Andrew was awarded ‘Photographer of the Year 2010’ by Magazines Ireland, the group that represents the 110 Irish Magazines (including; Image, HotPress, RTE Guide etc).

Most recently Andrew produced a series of five A3 wildlife posters for the Irish Daily Mail newspaper. The posters were available with the paper every day for a week over the period of the Easter school break.
Andrew’s photography can be viewed on his website


  • Sinead Kelly

Sinead Kelly MVB MRCVS,Cert Vet Radiology, graduated from University College Dublin in 1992 and spent a total of 18 years working in the UK. Initially she did a small animal internship at Glasgow University Veterinary School for two years, where she learned the fundamental basics of referral medicine. While working there she studied for and gained her Certificate in Veterinary Radiology. She then worked in Small Animal Practice in Glasgow for four years before joining the RSPCA in Cheshire at their Stapeley Grange Wildlife Hospital and Rehoming Cattery between 1998 and 2002. She returned to the field of Small Animal Practice in Leeds and subsequently Glasgow, before joining Vets Now and working in their Emergency Out of Hours Hospitals in Glasgow and Stoke for a total of seven years.She moved back to Ireland in 2010 and has thoroughly enjoyed working at AllPets Veterinary Hospital since then. Her special areas of veterinary interest are Emergency Medicine, Critical Care and Radiology.


  • Lynn Miller

Lynn Miller B.Sc.Ag., Dipl. Ecotox., PhD (pending), CWR is president of the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council, based in Oregon, USA, and is also the founder of "Le Nichoir" Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center in Quebec, Canada.

Lynn began life in New Zealand surrounded by animals; cats, dogs, chickens, horses, budgies, etc. But it was her passion for wildlife and conservation that lead to Summer School at Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust and a stint at London Zoo.

A rather lovely holiday in France led to meeting a gorgeous French Canadian chap and a new life in Quebec. While attending McGill University’s MacDonald College, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, near Montreal, she began working with birds of prey at the Macdonald Raptor Research Centre. Of course, although the fact that raptors were the specialty did not deter the many people who bought in ducklings, song birds, herons and pigeons. The mistake was to take these birds to her home, or was it? That was 25 years ago.

Since then, Lynn has continued her education with a PhD in Environmental Toxicology due for completion in May 2011. Her rehabbing has also been central to her life, with the founding of Le Nichoir in 1994, becoming an International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (IWRC) instructor some 7 years ago, joining the IWRC board, and now in 2011, becoming president of IWRC.

This year is a busy one with continued research into the impact of oil in birds, especially the northern gannets that migrate south to Florida and the Gulf of Mexico through her research position in the Chemistry department at Concordia University. She is also under contract to the Humane Society of the United States working with their wildlife rehabilitation programs. Add to this her teaching duties with IWRC and the responsibilities as president, 2011 is shaping up to be an interesting one.


  • Pat Morris

Dr Pat Morris was Senior Lecturer in Zoology at Royal Holloway, University of London, now retired. He taught many students who work in wildlife conservation. He is best known for his studies on mammal ecology (hedgehogs, water voles, bats, red squirrels) and major research and conservation projects on dormice. He is a past Chairman of the Mammal Society and holder of its Silver Medal. He is a Council member of the National Trust and was Chairman of its Nature Conservation Advisory Panel for 11 years. He was a Vice President of the London Wildlife Trust and a member of several other Natural History and conservation organisations. For three years he was a co-Director of the International Summer School on the Breeding and Conservation of Endangered species, based at the Durrell Zoo in Jersey.

He has published over 80 scientific papers, mostly about mammals and also written books on bats, dormice, taxidermy and the natural history of lakes. His popular book on hedgehogs has remained in print through various editions since 1983. He was a consultant to several major publishers and to the BBC, for whom he has contributed to many radio and TV programmes. He has travelled widely in 30 countries, including five expeditions to Ethiopia and 18 visits to the USA.

In his spare time he has pursued a longstanding interest in the history of taxidermy and has published papers on this topic (with 7 books published 2003-2010).  On the recommendation of the Guild of Taxidermists, he is one of the Government’s taxidermy inspectors for the purpose of assessing age and authenticity of antique taxidermy in connection with CITES controls.


  • Elizabeth Mullineaux

Liz Mullineaux BVM&S, DVM&S, CertSHP, MRCVS, has worked for over twenty years in first opinion veterinary practice, most recently as a director of a small animal veterinary hospital in Somerset. During this time she developed an interest in British wildlife medicine and in 2011 completed a clinical doctorate looking at ‘The factors affecting the rehabilitation and release of adult badger casualties’.

Liz has contributed to several veterinary texts and journals, and spoken at national and international conferences on the subjects of wildlife veterinary care, badgers and tuberculosis.
For many years Liz has worked closely with Secret World Wildlife Rescue and is currently employed as Scientific Advisor to this charity.


  • Ciaran O'Keefe

Ciaran O'Keeffe is a Director of The National Parks and Wildlife Service and oversees Science, Species and Biodiversity issues, and Licensing.


  • David Wilson - USPCA

David is the Press & Information Officer for the USPCA. He has been in this post for fifteen years. In addition to his press & media committments David represents the views of the Charity with Dept of Agriculture, in the Stormont Assembly and in Brussels.

The Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (USPCA), a registered charity, is the principal animal welfare organisation in Northern Ireland and it's views are widely regarded by the Media, Local Government and Members of the Legislative Assembly as the definitive voice on all matters relating to the welfare of animals.

The Society founded in 1836 is the second oldest animal welfare organisation in the world, preceded only
by the RSPCA. Throughout it's history the objectives of the USPCA have never changed, they remain to this day;
'Promoting the Welfare of all Animals Through Education and Enforcement'.


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A Perfectly Wild Weekend In Co Meath

In the last weekend in September each year Co Meath is host to a really wild weekend. Anyone with an interest in wildlife, including rescuers, Vets, Vet Nurses and wildlife rehabilitators from all over Ireland, descended on Ashbourne, Co Meath to attend the 3rd Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland annual Conference.

            Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland exists to promote wildlife rehabilitationand improve wildlife welfare and conservation in Ireland. The conference is run over 2 days: Saturday had over 70 delegates from the general public and Sunday was attended by over 80 Vets and Vet Nurses. Anyone can attend lectures and learn a bit more about Ireland’s wildlife and how we can all help wildlife casualties and support many species throughout the year.

This year focused on hedgehogs, badgers, squirrels and bats, with expert speakers from Ireland, the UK, USA and Canada making the trip over to cover topics such as; mammal first aid and common conditions, handling and veterinary care of bats, bird rescue and basic care, post release monitoring of wildlife casualties, squirrel conditions and treatments, badger rescue treatments and TB, and all things hedgehog. Also covered was rescue and short term care of wildlife, identification of species, nutrition, first aid, rehabilitators’ requirements, Veterinary treatments and how we can all help in the campaign to stop wildlife crime.  Many wildlife rescuers were represented and lent their contact details to maintain a network of rescue volunteers, transporters and specialist rehabilitators all over the country.

Ciaran O'Keeffe Emma Keeble and Pat Morris
Ciaran O’Keeffe - NPWS
Emma Keeble & Pat Morris

At the end of each day there was a practical session on handling various animals, first aid and bat identification. Pat Morris, an expert on all things hedgehog and the author of many books and research papers on angráinneog, gave a couple of fascinating lectures on the life and, sadly, the decline of the European hedgehog. The hedgehog is a protected species here in Ireland and faces an on-going battle for survival. Pat explained the environment has a lot to do with dwindling numbers.  The increase in roads, which cut through wildlife highways, and declining hedgehog environments such as grazing land and woodlands have devastated the numbers of Ireland’s hedgehogs. Another danger the poor hog faces is the use of slug pellets and other insecticides in gardens and industrial pesticides on farmland. This can cause secondary poisoning, as the poor hogs eat poisoned food, which may kill them in turn.

Mammal Practical Bat practical
Mammal Practical-E.Keeble
Mammal Practical
Bat practical
Mammal Practical

The other main hazard faced is “tidy” gardens. Hogs love to sleep during the day in piles of our garden rubbish. We pile up the leaves, twigs and cuttings and leave for a few days before having a garden bonfire. Hedgehogs curl up into a tight spikey ball when in danger but this is no match for a fire. Many hedgehogs die every year in bonfires, so move your bonfire and make sure there are no sleepy hogs in there before lighting it, especially at this time of the year when Hallowe’en approaches.

Strimmers and lawn mowers kill and injure hundreds of hogs every year, not only in gardens but in fields and roadsides. Before strimming use your foot to find a nest, they are ball-like as the hedgehog will circle round and round till the grass is wrapped around him for camouflage. The other way to help is by not strimming close to the ground, but about 30cm above the ground thereby missing a hog or a nest, saving the adult and perhaps her hoglets as well. Garden netting and football nets can also cause a hedgehog to become entangled and injured so please check nets and tie up football nets when you are finished with them.


David Couper David Couper and Lynn Miller
David Couper
David Couper & Lynn Miller

Bats are also a protected species in Ireland and David Couper, a bat expert who works in the UK, spoke about identifying, rescuing and bat conservation. We have a few bat species in Ireland including the Common, Soprano and Nathusius Pipstrelle bats; the small ones found in and around our homes. The Leisler’s bat, which is rare in Britain and the rest of Europe, is relatively common here and for this reason the Irish population of Leislers’ bats is considered of International Importance. So if you have bats in and around your home, get in touch with Bat Conservation Ireland for help and advice. Remember too that it is illegal to harm them in any way.

Lynn Miller Diane Seguin
Lynn Miller - IWRC
Diane Seguin - IWRC

lynn Miller, who flew in from Cape Cod in the USA, spoke about bird rescue and care.  Lynn is the Chairwoman of the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (IWRC) and runs a 2-day Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator course prior to the conference, a must for anyone who wants to learn more about how to care for wildlife. Topics covered are identification of species, handling, diseases, feeding, care, housing, release and so much more.

Adam Grogan Liz Mullineaux
Adam Grogan
Liz Mullineaux

The weekend flew past with lectures by Adam Grogan RSPCA Wildlife Rehabilitator Co-ordinator, and Vets - Emma Keeble, who specialises in treating and lecturing about wildlife at Edinburgh University Vet School, Liz Mullineaux who spoke about badger rescue, common conditions and TB and Tiffany Blackett who had fascinating lectures on squirrel conditions and Veterinary treatment, and Sinead Kelly  who provided practical sessions on rescue and first aid for swans. Ciaran O’Keeffe and Ann Fitzpatrick spoke about the NPWS and their role, and David Wilson from the USPCA spoke on the very serious topic of wildlife crime.

There were also exhibition stalls the WRI team would like to thank for their support; The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, Irish Wildlife Trust, Irish Veterinary Nurses Association, National Parks and Wildlife Services and an exhibition of beautiful wildlife photography from around the world by Andrew Kelly; Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010.

Emma Keeble Tiffany Blackett
Emma Keeble
Tiffany Blackett

Evening entertainment was also on offer; Conor Kelleher a real life “bat” man gave an extremely entertaining and informative evening talk on bats. Philip McCabe an apicurist divulged all sorts of fascinating facts about the secretive lives of bees, and Andrew Kelly on Sunday treated us to a wide selection of his wildlife photographs and stories behind them.

            Thank you to the organisations that provided literature for the delegate bags; BSAVA, Pet Problems, Mutt and Jeff Dog Treats, Girling and Fraser Training and Consultancy, Volunteers in Irish Veterinary Assistance, Vets Beyond Borders and Worldwide Veterinary Service. Special thanks has to go to Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland and their team for once again bringing the conference to Ireland and spreading the word about the dangers faced by our Irish wildlife. WRI would also like to thank all the supporters and organisations that got involved in helping yet another weekend go wild!

Ann Fitzpatrick Ann Fitzpatrick
Ann Fitzpatrick - NPWS
Clyde Hutchinson - WRI

We can, and should, do all we can to protect our wildlife. As we build more houses, industrial parks and roads, cut down hedgerows, remove trees and change grazing land to arable land, have tidy manicured gardens, use insecticides and chemicals, we are making it difficult for wildlife to survive and share our world.

Conference speakers
Conference Speakers

One of the biggest lessons learned from the congress is that we should just think a little before we move, destroy, cut down, and “clean” up. Think about what we can all do as individuals to help the wildlife in our gardens. Perhaps have a wild area where you can have plants that will attract butterflies and bees in the spring and summer, these will in turn attract birds and other wildlife. If you are building a wall perhaps think about a wildlife highway, just a few missing bricks at the bottom to allow hedgehogs and other wildlife a pathway on their nocturnal ramblings.  Have an escape route out of garden ponds and cattle grids to help wildlife that fall in and get trapped. 37 dead hedgehogs were removed from one cattle grid alone before the owner made a little brick staircase to enable toads, frogs, hedgehogs and other wildlife to escape.
Schools can invite rehabilitators to set up projects and talks. The use of fireworks and Chinese lanterns at celebrations can trap, burn and kill owls, bats and other nocturnal species so please use alternative displays.

Remember before you Move, Destroy, Cut Down or Clean Up think first!
Because Irish wildlife really does matter.

Certified wildlife rehabilitator, Irish Veterinary Nurse of the Year 2012
- hedgehog help and advice

Click HERE for more photos!!



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