As humans, we share our world with countless animal species, some of which may be injured or in distress. Though it is not always possible to prevent wildlife injuries, we can take steps to assist and rehabilitate these creatures. Here are some things you should do if you find an injured or orphaned animal.
Firstly, ensure your safety and that of the animal. Injured wildlife may be frightened and defensive, so approach slowly, calmly, and cautiously. Do not touch or approach it unless it is absolutely necessary, as wild animals are unpredictable and can be dangerous, particularly if they feel cornered or threatened.
If the animal is a small one, like a bird, squirrel, or rabbit, you can try to gently pick it up and place it in a box or carrier (preferably with ventilation holes and lined with a towel or newspaper) with a warm, dark, and quiet environment. Otherwise, if you cannot handle the animal, avoid touching it as much as possible, minimize disturbance, and call for help.
The next step is to contact an authorized wildlife rehabilitator or the relevant wildlife agency as soon as possible. These organizations are usually staffed by experienced professionals and volunteers who can provide the specialist care and treatment needed to rehabilitate and release injured wildlife back into the wild. Wildlife centers will be able to provide you with the necessary instructions on how to transport an injured animal safely.
While you wait for assistance, do not attempt to feed or give the animal any water. These creatures have specific dietary needs, which must be taken into account, and feeding them improperly could cause more harm. Also, do not attempt to care for an animal by yourself, even if you think you know what you are doing.
In some cases, the animal may appear uninjured, but you should stay vigilant and observe it from a distance. If you notice signs of injury, such as bleeding, limping, or other abnormalities, take the necessary steps. Remember that wild animals are often much better equipped to survive than humans, so in most cases, “toughing it out” is the best option.
If you find a young animal without its parents, do not attempt to raise it by yourself. Young animals require a lot of care and specific diets, and even the unintentional imprinting on humans may result in their inability to survive in the wild. Instead, contact a wildlife rehabilitator.
In conclusion, finding an injured or orphaned animal is a commendable act of kindness, but it is important to act responsibly when dealing with wildlife. Always approach with caution, contact a wildlife rehabilitator or relevant wildlife agency for advice and assistance, and do not attempt to care for or raise the animal by yourself. Rehabilitation requires the skill and expertise of professionals, and by working together, we can help preserve and protect the world’s wildlife for generations to come.