Oklahoma officers learn how to capture, handle wild animals safely

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OKLAHOMA CITY - In Oklahoma, exotic wildlife exists and it’s crucial our first responders know how to safely capture and handle these animals.

On Wednesday, more than 300 law enforcement officers attended a training session at Francis Tuttle Technology Center in northwest Oklahoma City.

The Humane Society of the United States said this training helps protect the public and the animals.

"Understanding a fight/flight distance to see how those animals are reacting and maybe rewarding the animal by backing away from it rather than approaching upon it," said Dave Pauli, Senior Dir. Wildlife Response & Policy with the Humane Society of the United States.

Officers learned how to handle wild creatures from skunks and squirrels to bears and tigers.

Also, first responders learned how to capture animals safely so they can be re-released

"Acting low, slow and softly. Don't get excited, lower your voice, make yourself smaller, doing anything you can to calm the animal down," said Pauli.

They also learned about captive wildlife right here.

"There are known to be over 1,000 different types of captive wild animals residing right here," said Nicole Paquette, Vice President of Wildlife with the Humane Society of the United States.

Some wildlife groups are advocating for stricter laws to stop people from owning exotic animals, but until then, there are things we should do to peacefully co-exist with our wild neighbors.

"Simple tips for securing their trash can, not feeding their animals outside," said Paquette.

To reduce dangerous animals being held captive in Oklahoma, the Humane Society United States said the public needs to encourage lawmakers to prohibit this type of ownership.