In today's world, wild animals face a wide variety of challenges that threaten their survival. There are several things we can do as humans to help wildlife from becoming injured!!
Thousands of Birds of Prey and other animals are killed or severely injured each year from food and food wrappers being thrown out on the side of roads, highways, and interstates. Small prey species such as mice and rats are drawn to these wrappers in search of food; hawks, owls, and other Birds of Prey feed on these animals. Often, the Bird of Prey is so tuned into the possible meal that they do not notice oncoming traffic and will swoop down to get the small animal riffling in the trash and end up being hit by an oncoming car. Due to their large size more times than not the bird of prey becomes injured rather than killed.
Many other scavenger animals such as opossums, raccoons, groundhogs, bears, and many others also wind up dead or injured on the world's roadways as a result of trash and food being tossed out of car windows along roadways.
Cats kill millions of Songbirds every year! To help protect songbirds from your cat please either keep them inside or put bells on them to warn birds of their presence. With a bell on their collar cats are unable to sneak up on unsuspecting birds.
Dogs are known to be curious, and territorial animals, they will try to catch anything that crosses their path.
Baby birds that fall out of their nests, squirrels, opossums, raccoons, rabbits, etc. are always in danger of being pounced on and tormented. Keeping your dog indoors, tied, on a leash, or placing a bell on its collar will help to reduce the number of wildlife injuries due to dogs. Most wildlife injuries that result from dogs occur during the spring baby season.
Pet food attracts a lot of Wildlife, as well as throwing out table scraps in your yard! Many "Rabies Vector Species" are attracted to these things and by doing this you increase the chances of you or your pet coming in contact with a rabid animal and getting rabies. There is NO CURE for Rabies once you begin to show symptoms, it is then fatal!
Baby season for birds generally runs from April through August. Squirrels have an early and late season. Rabbits, opossums, and other mammals pretty much go all spring and summer.
It is crucial to find out first whether or not the animal really does need help!
Baby Birds don't necessarily fly when they first fledge from their nest. Often that is when humans or cats usually find them. This is normal, and their parents will continue to feed and take care of them until they learn to take care of themselves
Unless the wild animal is in immediate Danger!!
(in a roadway, has been attacked by a dog or cat, or other immediate threat)
Call a Wildlife Rehabilitator BEFORE you do Anything!!
An injured or orphaned wild animal begins its journey to The Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute by being found by a caring and compassionate person.
Often times a person's first impulse is to feed or offer water to the animal. Unfortunately, this kind act can cause more damage than good! When an animal is physically compromised, feeding and/or improper watering can cause death.
The first thing you should do is call The Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute or a Wildlife Rehabilitator in your area!
(E-mail is too slow, and we cannot properly assess the situation.)
This should be done BEFORE you attempt to help the animal in any way!
There are many factors that you won't consider if you do not have the proper training and expertise that a Wildlife Rehabilitator has, and by calling first you can better help the animal in need that you are concerned about.
If you and the Wildlife Rehabilitator have definitely determined that the animal needs your help, always remember that wildlife can carry diseases and that they can hurt you! They will try to defend themselves if at all possible! It is crucial that you protect yourself first and foremost! It is important not to let your emotions cloud your judgment!
Raccoons are "Rabies Vector Species," orphaned baby raccoons are adorable, however, in many states rabies is an epidemic! You have to consider the reason they might be orphaned in the first place before you approach a wild animal.
The next thing you need to do is make sure that the capture is as safe and low stress as possible for the animal!
When capturing an injured or orphaned animal wear leather gloves if possible to protect yourself from getting injured. Another safe way to capture a wild animal is to lightly cover the animal with a towel and then gently pick it up wrapped in the towel, this helps to secure the animal when it tries to get away and helps to prevent you from accidentally dropping it and causing the animal further damage. The towel will also serve as protection for you when the animal tries to fight back or escape.
Always have the container (cardboard box) prepared and close by before attempting a capture and place the animals in the container as soon as possible once it has been captured!
It is best to place the animal in a cardboard box with something soft in it like a towel to prevent it from sliding around and adding to its stress. Keep it in a dark quite place, this will generally keep it calmer. Remember that an injured animal may not be able to regulate its body temperature properly and it can get hypothermia even on a warm day, to prevent this from happening a heating pad set on low under the box is a great idea.
Do not place heating pads in the box with the animal! Electrocution can occur if the animal chews on or urinates on the heating pad.
Never put a wild bird in a wire cage! It can severely damage its feathers and further injure itself trying to get out of the cage!