September 22nd
Encountering Sick, Injured and Orphaned Wildlife

Close your eyes for a second and imagine that it’s a beautiful fall afternoon. You’re out on a hike. Maybe you’re with your dog, or maybe you’re with friends or family, when all of sudden, you come across a sick or injured wild animal. What do you do?

First, assess whether the animal is in distress. Is the animal showing obvious signs of illness or injury? Visible wounds, injured limbs, twitching/shaking, loss of balance and missing fur or feathers are all evident signs that an animal is in distress. If the animal appears sleepy or blind when approached and/or allows you to come within 1-2 feet of them, that is also a sign of distress. You can also look up distress calls on YouTube. Please reach out to your local humane society if you notice an animal showing any of these signs.

Now, imagine that you’re out on your hike and you come across wildlife babies. You’re not sure whether they’re orphaned and if they need help. What do you do?

It’s important to note that many wildlife mothers leave their babies while they go and forage for food. Most often, deer, rabbits, racoons and squirrels get mistakenly taken for orphans when they are actually not orphans. Please ensure that the babies are truly orphaned and in need of assistance. Observe the nest or den from a safe distance so that you are not the cause of a parent not returning. It’s important to note that when it comes to rabbits, the mother usually feeds her babies at dusk and dawn, and the feeding only lasts about two minutes. If the mother doesn’t come back, contact a wildlife rescue or your local humane society. Your local humane society can do a welfare check on the babies to determine if they are indeed abandoned and in need of help.

Lastly, never ever feed wildlife. Feeding wildlife does more harm than good. It takes energy to digest food – energy that sick and injured wildlife don’t have because every last bit of energy they have is being used to maintain critical bodily functions.

Above all, always wait for instructions from a wildlife rescue so that animals get the care that they deserve.