Safe Work Practices for Working with Wildlife

Techniques and Methods 15-C2
Prepared in cooperation with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service
By:  and 
Edited by: Katherine L. D. RichgelsSamantha E.J. Gibbs, and Margaret A. Wild



Most wildlife biologists, technicians, and veterinarians complete their tasks safely and uneventfully every day. However, some significant risks exist in this line of work, and injuries, illnesses, and accidental deaths among wildlife workers do occur. Aviation accidents (airplane and helicopter), drownings, and car and truck accidents are the most common causes of fatalities among wildlife workers (Sasse, 2003). Although rare, serious zoonotic infections also happen. Being mindful of occupational hazards and zoonoses (diseases transmitted between humans and animals), and the various ways to minimize these risks, can help workers stay safe and healthy on the job.

Suggested Citation

Taylor, T., and Buttke, D., 2020, Safe work practices for working with wildlife: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods, book 15, chap. C2, 26 p.,

ISSN: 2328-7055 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Background
  • Occupational Hazards of Working with Wildlife
  • Best Practices for Working with Wildlife
  • Safety and Health Regulations for Wildlife Workers
  • Conclusions
  • References
  • Appendix 1. Example of a Preplacement Medical Questionaire Suitable for Modification
  • Appendix 2. Examples of Quick Response or Medical Alert Cards
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Safe work practices for working with wildlife
Series title Techniques and Methods
Series number 15-C2
DOI 10.3133/tm15C2
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) National Wildlife Health Center
Description iv, 26 p.
Larger Work Type Report
Larger Work Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title Section C: Techniques in Disease Surveillance and Investigation in Book 15 Field Manual of Wildlife Diseases
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details