A Talk on the Wild Side.
|Fawns are often left alone for hours, but that does not mean they're orphaned. Photo Credit: USFWS|
People often think doing nothing is quite easy, but sometimes it can be awfully hard. Many of us want to help wildlife when they appear to be in trouble, but in some cases, we need to redirect these instincts.
Generally, the best thing to do is leave the animal alone. This protects both you and the animal.
Here are some more tips to help you deal with these situations:
Sometimes, though, wildlife definitely need our help. You’ll know a wild animal needs help if it has a visibly broken limb, is bleeding, has a dead parent nearby, is hopelessly tangled in some manmade object, or in the case of birds, is mostly featherless and sometimes the eyes are not yet fully open.
It takes a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, someone with special skills and proper permits, to successfully raise infant wildlife to the point they can be released into the wild.
Many state conservation agencies keep a list of licensed wildlife rehabilitators, but it's not always easy to find one. Researching local rehabilitators before you need one is a smart option.They can tell you what steps can be taken until help arrives.
That’s what Officer Richard Bare did when he received a call that some baby raccoons were orphaned after their mother was hit by a car. He took them to a wildlife rehabilitation facility.
|Bob Murphy and the osprey. Photo Credit: Dale Stahlecker|
Migratory Bird specialist Bob Murphy did that, too. Last year, while Bob was getting his canoe ready for a canoe trip, a friend spotted an osprey hanging upside down, tangled in fishing line, way up in a nearby pine tree.
Bob eventually climbed the tree and cut away the fishing line. He then carefully placed the bird into a backpack, climbed down the tree and took the bird to a rehabber. The osprey was somewhat dehydrated and malnourished, had a slightly injured toe and suffered neurological problems from hanging upside down for some time. However, it recovered and was released.
These are “hands-on” examples of experts providing help when wildlife are in trouble, and they still both involve wildlife rehabilitators. Wildlife rehab is the answer for an injured animal. But, in general, the best bet for your safety, and that of the animal involved, is to leave wildlife alone, whenever possible keeping them truly wild.
-- Matt Trott, External Affairs