NGOs create Cayman’s first wildlife internship

| 06/04/2011

(CNS): As a result of the growing need for more dedicated support when it comes to wildlife rescue in the Cayman Islands, the National Trust, Cayman Wildlife Rescue and St. Matthews Veterinary University have partnered to create a wildlife internship programme. The programme began last autumn with its first trainee vet, Canadian national Dr Lara Cusack, who will be conducting the treatment and care under bird expert Dr Heather Barron of SMU. As a result, the volunteers at Cayman Wildlife Rescue (CWR) have been able to set up an animal hospital, adding to the number of successful releases the organisation is able to make.

Program Manager Alison Corbett said it was an exciting time for CWR. “We have been struggling to operate with only volunteers but with a dedicated full-time and trained DVM we have been able to create a fully functional wildlife hospital able to handle a greatercase load volume and complexity of cases,” she said.

The Cayman Turtle Farm has also joined the program. In exchange for loaning their facilities for the wildlife hospital, they also have gained use of the intern for their animal care.

Dr Cusack, who has extensive wildlife medicine experience, is overseen by Dr Barron, who is an Avian and Exotic Animal Specialist. Together they staff the hospital with SMU student volunteers.
“It is hard work; often I am in the hospital for twelve hour stretches to give round the clock care, but it’s worth it,” said Dr Cusack. “Our successful releases are increasing.”

As the programme heads into spring, its busiest time of the year, many volunteers are needed to help during baby bird season. (See attachment below).

“We are in need of support from the public more than ever,” Corbett added. “We need volunteers to help with rescues and transporting wildlife to the hospital and we urgently need donations to cover the growing expenses.” If members of the public would like to help they can make a cash donation or donate some wish list items, such as towels, washer/dryer and a microwave oven.”

Donated items or cash donations can be dropped of at the National Trust Office, located at Dart Park, and donations by cheque can also be mailed to Cayman Wildlife Rescue, PO Box 31116 KY1-1205. Symbolic Wildlife Adoption Kits are also available for purchase from the National Trust Gift Shop, all proceeds benefit CWR.

If a member of the public finds injured, sick or orphaned wildlife, they can call the LIME sponsored Wildlife Rescue Hotline 917-BIRD(2473). The public is asked to ensure they call the hotline before bringing in an animal for care.

Interested members of the public can email the Program Manager at for more information. The program is especially in need of volunteers who are free during the weekdays to help with rescues and with care.

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