Borrowed from Care2causes
You were out minding your own business, when you spotted it: a sad, orphaned, injured and begging-to-be-rescued wild animal. Your instinct is to save it – to be the hero. But before you put your cape on, you should know you could be making matters worse. No matter how good your intentions, there are some things you should never do when you see an injured animal in the wild.
- Don’t do anything before calling a wildlife rescue. You know the expression “leave it to the pros”? This is a wonderful opportunity to use it and act on it. Your animal-loving heart may be breaking to see an animal suffer but unless you are a wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian, odds are you do not know how to assess and handle the situation best. Unless the animal is in imminent danger (like being run over), reach for your phone, not the animal, and call your local wildlife rescue.
- Don’t assume it’s orphaned. Sometimes a baby animal can look like it’s all alone in the wild but their parent could have just gone hunting for a few minutes and will be right back. By moving the baby you could be unintentionally be separating a family. In other cases, the adults are just giving their babies some space but are watching close by. A momma bear will not care that you wanted to babysit her cubs one bit and could attack. The best bet is to watch the baby animals from a distance and see if their parent returns or if they are indeed orphaned.
- Don’t touch it. Not only will some species, like rabbits, be extremely stressed to the point of death, but others like raccoons can bite. Being handled by a human can also lead to tragic ostracizing by the animal’s herd.
- Don’t plan on keeping it as a pet. We’ve all seen the stories online: a rescued baby raccoon who thinks she’s a dog, an adopted squirrel who sleeps under the covers, a rescued fox turned man’s best friend. While that sounds like the magic stuff out of Disney movies, odds of that fairytale actually panning out are slim. Not only is keeping wild animals as pets illegal in some states/provinces, it’s unsafe. Wild animals belong in the wild and could attack you and your pets if domesticated.
- Don’t feed it. Depending on the injury the animal has, feeding it or forcing it to drink might be fatal. Giving the animal something it cannot properly process like milk or bread, may also cause bigger stomach issues.
- Don’t talk all the way to the vet. While you may be tempted to reassure the animal a thousand times that everything is going to be OK and that you’ll make sure they’re alright, resist the urge while transporting them to a wildlife rescue center. The animal doesn’t know you or your voice or what in the world is happening to them so the talking will most likely just stress them out and frighten them even more. Keep the radio off and talking to a minimum.
Visit this page on the Wildlife Rehabilitators Network of British Columbia website to find out what to do in various situations for different types of wild animals.