Colorado Parks and Wildlife is in urgent need of wildlife transport volunteers in Summit County
As nature wakes up, Summit County residents are invited by Colorado Parks and Wildlife to help out by becoming wildlife transport volunteers for the upcoming spring, summer and fall seasons.
For the Summit County Wildlife Transport Team, CPW hopes to find as many responsible, energetic and dedicated volunteers as possible, who are able to be called upon in the event a wild animal needs transport by vehicle, sometimes to a vet or a rehab facility.
CPW spokesman Mike Porras said that the agency is in critical need of these volunteers, as his agency is so wrapped up during the spring and summer responding to wildlife emergencies that they often don’t have the staff available for lower priority calls, usually involving smaller wildlife found where they should not be or becoming trapped or injured.
“This is a legitimate way that people can help wildlife in a responsible manner,” said district wildlife manager Elissa Slezak. “We’ll provide the necessary training for volunteers to be able to handle a wide variety of wildlife emergencies, from birds that have fallen out of a nest to animals that are trapped in dumpsters.”
Volunteers would transport mostly small mammals and birds, while CPW officials would handle calls for the bigger, riskier animals such as moose, elk, bear and mountain lions.
Slezak said that the need begins in spring, when small animals — especially squirrels and birds — fall out of nests. Other animals that often require transport are foxes, hares, chipmunks and raptors like hawks, eagles and owls. Speedy transport can often mean the difference between recovery and demise for these animals.
The commitment is serious, requiring volunteers to be able to respond within a day to requests for transporting animals to or from locations as far as the Front Range or areas farther west. Volunteers will be required to undergo a background check, have a reliable vehicle, and generally represent CPW in a professional and consistent manner. CPW is looking for up to 15 volunteers to be available for the commitment this year.
Slezak said she recommends the responsibility for folks who are retired or work part-time, and not for those who have full-time work commitments or otherwise will find it difficult to extricate themselves during the designated period they will be on call.
CPW will host an information session for potential wildlife transport volunteers and the public at 6 p.m. on April 22 in the Buffalo Mountain Room at Summit County Commons, 37 Peak One Drive in Frisco.
Attendees will be able to learn more about volunteering for the wildlife transport team, the qualifications and time commitment required, as well as ask questions about the program.
“This is one of the most demanding, and at the same time most rewarding volunteer opportunities we have at CPW,” Slezak said. “With the number of calls we get each year, we depend very much on our volunteers. We hope to see a good turnout.”
After the session, interested attendees will have the opportunity to submit an application. All applicants will undergo a background check. Successful applicants must attend a training session on May 12 and commit to be on call for multiple one-week periods between May and October.
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