Robotic duck teaches volunteers to help animals

January 13, 2011 7:35:22 PM PST
So many people want to help when they see a wild animal in distress, but many do not know how. Often times, nonprofit rescue organizations would step in to help, but they are stretched thin. That is why an organization called WildRescue out of Moss Landing has created a unique training program to empower volunteers to help save lives of injured or oiled animals.

"Giving people the knowledge and tools to make a difference can help save countless lives," WildRescue founder Rebecca Dmytryk said.

To that end, WildRescue is conducting a series of classes in the Bay Area and Southern California to train volunteers to identify sick or injured animals and how to treat them and if needed, capture and transport them to a qualified facility.

One of the tools the group uses is a piece of equipment called Robo-Duck. Robo-Duck races around the beach and allows volunteers to try out their skills to catch it using nets. It may look like child's play but it is serious business.

WildRescueis the organization that rescued the seagulls found last month with cut beer cans intentionally put around their necks. A concerned citizen originally spotted the gull and kept watch over the bird, befriending it until help could arrive.

Robo-Duck has literally traveled to beaches around the world, including a training class in Estonia during an oiled wildlife conference.