DCNR Good Natured Pennsylvanians: Suzanne DeArment, Wildlife Rehabilitator, Crawford County

Suzanne DeArment is a retired purchasing agent from Meadville, who currently volunteers as a wildlife rehabilitator.

In 2017, Suzanne founded Wildlife In Need Emergency Response of Pennsylvania (W.I.N Emergency), a grassroots organization of volunteers.

Suzanne’s mission is to have volunteers that are permitted in capture and transport, and trained transporters (wildlife couriers) in each county of the state to respond to wildlife that need rescue and transportation to a Pennsylvania wildlife rehabilitation center or veterinary service.

Suzanne joined the Pennsylvania Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Council, which consists of six Pennsylvania licensed rehabilitators, a veterinarian, and a member of the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

During one of their meetings, they discussed ways to help wildlife rehabilitators in the state, and Suzanne proposed the idea of forming a statewide dispatch network for injured and orphaned wild animals. The idea was accepted unanimously.

W.I.N Emergency will often work with the Pa. Game Commission to help with transportation of a wild animal to a wildlife rehabilitation center, and coordinates with the agency when there is an animal in need.

When W.I.N Emergency is confronted with an animal that is in need and difficult or dangerous to capture, they call on the Game Commission to help.

“My favorite part of the job is knowing that I can help or find help for those animals in need of help; whether it be re-uniting them or capturing them and arranging for help,” Suzanne says.

As founder, Suzanne wears many hats, and she hopes someday others will be wearing some of them. Suzanne is responsible for recruiting and training wildlife couriers (transporters of wildlife in need to medical services); as well as promoting interested individuals to become capture and transport permittees.

Suzanne responds to capture and transport situations in the northwest region of Pennsylvania, and serves as the regional director for the northwest, northcentral, and southcentral regions.

Suzanne also oversees regional directors in the other regions in the state; and coordinates monthly schedules and protocols for all volunteer opportunities.

Suzanne has always had a general interest in wildlife; however, in 1989 she had the opportunity to go to Africa on a photography tour.

Unbeknownst to her, this was going to be a life-changing event as she realized her love of the wild animals and learned a lot about their behavior.

Back in Meadville, Suzanne read an article about Harriet Wilson, founder of Tamarack Wildlife, and she decided to pick up the phone and give her a call.

Harriet became Suzanne’s mentor, and helped her open the door to the world of wildlife rehabilitation.

Wildlife rehabilitators admit, treat, and care for the wildlife until they are ready to be released.

They can have hundreds of patients at any point in time. With the number of animals that need help, there is a great need for volunteers who are permitted to care for them.

W.I.N Emergency received 527 total wildlife calls in 2018, which increased to more than 1,535 calls from January to the end of October 2019.

“The need is there to help the wild animals, and to help the people who are concerned. The volume of calls has just exploded, and that was one of the unknowns that we were faced with, with our organization,” Suzanne says.

“To see how we as humans have affected wild animals is quite an eye opener. As stewards of wild animals, we need to be more conscience of how we affect our environment and take action to help.”

Know of a good natured Pennsylvanian who is passionate about outdoor recreation and/or conservation that we should feature? Contact DCNR by sending email to: ra-resource@pa.gov  to nominate someone.

For more information on state parks and forests and recreation in Pennsylvania, visit DCNR’s website, Click Here to sign up for the Resource newsletter, Visit the Good Natured DCNR Blog,  Click Here for upcoming events, Click Here to hook up with DCNR on other social media-- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

(Reprinted from DCNR’s Dec. 11 Resource newsletter. Click Here to sign up for your own copy.)


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