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Helping Wildlife

Spring is here, and that means that baby wild animals are starting to pop up everywhere you look. During their first few weeks of life, many of these little ones might, unfortunately, be separated from their mothers because of treacherous weather conditions, fall out of their nests, or be stalked by cats who are allowed to roam outdoors. Guardians should keep cats indoors, which is the safest option both for kitty and for wildlife. It can often be difficult to tell if a situation is normal or if it’s an emergency and interference is necessary. Always be sure that your help is needed before intervening. If you see a young animal, it is important to resist the temptation to involve yourself unless the animal is clearly sick, hurt, orphaned, or in immediate danger—you may do more harm than good by removing a young animal from the care of his or her parents. Check out our tips for determining if an animal needs help. It’s also a good idea to keep an emergency rescue kit in your car and a handy list of phone numbers for your local animal control agency and licensed wildlife rehabilitators. If you are assisting an animal after typical business hours and are unable to reach anyone, you can usually call your local police or sheriff’s department for assistance.

Keep the following items in your vehicle at all times so you’ll be ready to respond if you encounter an animal in distress:

Carrier (medium-sized), cardboard or plastic

• Towel or blanket (with no strings or loops)

• Net

• Leash

• Broom (to gently coax an animal into a carrier or away from a dangerous area)

• Wet and dry cat food

• Directions to local animal control bureaus, 24-hour emergency veterinary hospitals, and wildlife rehabilitators.

For more detailed instructions on what to do if you find a baby mammal or baby bird, please check out the National Wildlife Rehabilitation Council’s Web site.

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  • Alicia N. says:

    Thanks for sharing these tips, they’re very helpful. Animals are an amazing creation, we must protect all of them all year around.

  • chander kumar soni says:

    i will surely help.

  • Leslie Hathaway says:

    On Easter, Sunday, I found a baby shore bird that had fallen out of its mother’s nest. I was able to find somebody from the the Huntington Beach Wetlands to come out and take the baby to a safe place. She suggested that I take a small piece of tupperware and put some shredded tissue in it and attach it to a tree and put the baby in it.
    She said that the mother would come and take care of her baby. I wasn’t able to do that because I knew that Management wouldn’t allow it. Thank God she came and took the baby.

  • Emma says:

    Please don’t say to “use a broom”. It took at least 2 months after coaxing with one to save 2 starving kittens – at least 2 months before they stopped freaking out when I had to sweep the floor. A broom is not always the best to use.
    Also please, please keep at least one cardboard box for wandering Turtles! (since they pee & you can throw out the box and still have a clean pet carrier. Just put a trash bag around the box. Me and my mom rescued so many wandering turtles in a 3 year period – the farmer who had the HUGE “pond” (a natural one) said he loved to watch them sunning themselves on the logs he put out 😉

  • Kristen Riley Owen says:

    This is incredibly important informaiton.

    For those of you in the Tampa Bay area Sky Harbor is the place to call for assistance.

    I’ve been volunteering for them and, regardless that donations are down due to the economy Lynda, the director, is working hard to keep things rolling.

    She’s amazing.