Newsroom Midwest Region

What To Do If You Find Injured or Orphaned Wildlife

June 11, 2014

Hooded merganser chick courtesy of Steve Gifford.
Hooded merganser chick courtesy of Steve Gifford.

Think you've found an orphaned or injured wild animal? It’s natural to want to help and there are a few things you should know to avoid breaking the law.

In order to rehabilitate wildlife, you must have the proper permit and training. It is illegal to keep wildlife in your possession or attempt to rehabilitate an animal on your own. Always call on a professional.

Generally, the best thing to do is leave the animal alone, but if you must help, contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. You’ll know a wild animal needs help if it has a visible broken limb, is bleeding or shivering, or has a dead parent nearby.

We've listed the resources for our eight Midwest Region states below, but you can learn more about rehabilitators in other states at

Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitators in the Midwest

For more information specific to birds, visit

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