The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-SPCA International-reports that wildlife rehabilitation centers receive desperate calls throughout the year from people who find abandoned baby animals or injured wildlife in need of help. If you should happen upon an abandoned baby rabbit or a bird with a broken wing, what would you do? The Sierra Wildlife Rescue and the SPCA International recommend the following guidelines.
What Should You Do If You Find Injured Wildlife?
Observe the animal to see if there’s a visible wound. Determine if the animal is exhibiting pain by limping; perhaps it can’t fly or walk at all. Do you see blood on the animal or on the ground? Once you determine that the animal is injured call your local wildlife facility immediately. As you describe the injury over the phone, they will determine if you should offer the animal any immediate care.
What Should You Do if You Find a Baby Animal?
If you see no signs of injury, step away from the animal but keep a watch from a distant. Though an animal may appear to be alone, its parent may be near but afraid to approach with you there. In the cases of bear cubs, the mother may attack if she fears danger to her off-springs. By keeping your distance you can watch the abandoned animal in case its situation should worsen, but more likely you’ll find the parent returning after a while.
Should You Take an Abandoned Baby Animal With You?
Do not remove wildlife from its habitat unless you see that it is injured. In the case of baby animals this important point is sometimes hard to accept. It is useful to remember that baby animals may appear abandoned by human standards, despite the fact that their mother will return (quite naturally) within an established time. Therefore, it’s best not to take baby animals unless you see that their mother is dead or incapacitated. Professional wildlife rescuers too often see cases in which baby animals are “kidnapped” from their mothers by well-intentioned (but ill-informed) people.
What Should You Do If You Find a Fledgling that Fell from Its Nest?
Many of us were taught that a mother bird will reject her baby once we touch it, because our smell will alter the scent of the fledgling and cause the mother not to recognize her own off-spring. Actually, according to wildlife rescue experts, you can pick up a baby bird and put it back in its nest, if you can climb that high. The mother will not reject the fledgling.
How Should You Care for Wildlife You Saved?
Wildlife are not conditioned to be pets. If you remove an animal from the wild because you deem that its survival is at stake, keep pets, children and people away from it. Limit all stress-inducing interferences as the animal might die from fear and anxiety.
Put small birds in a paper bag lined with a tissue. Place large birds or small mammals in a lidded cardboard box lined with a towel. Create a warm, dark, peaceful environment for the animals. And while you wait for instructions from your local wildlife facility avoid the temptation to feed or even offer water to the animal.
Should You Save Medium-Sized Mammals or Raptors?
Wildlife rescue experts encourage that you do not try to remove medium-sized mammals or raptors as they may bite or scratch you and so infect you with serious diseases like rabies. It’s best to call your local wildlife facility for immediate help.
By this time you will have noticed that calling your local wildlife facility is critical to saving wildlife in distress. Therefore, find out now which facility covers the wildlife in your area and save this phone number on your cell.
SPCA International: “How to Save Orphaned or Injured Wildlife”
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