Find An Injured Animal?
If you find an injured bird please do not try to treat it yourself. Place the bird in a small, dark, closed cardboard box with a soft towel or t-shirt in the bottom and contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian immediately. It is imperative that the bird be treated with as little human contact as possible to avoid stress, which may be detrimental to the bird’s recovery.
If you find an injured mammal, do not handle it. Some mammals have been known to carry rabies and many will bite if scared or injured. Note the animal's location and call a rehabilitator as soon as possible. Once the rehabilitator has received the information from you he/she can assess how the situation should be handled.
The first point of business when you find a baby animal is to determine whether it is truly an orphan in need of care. Many baby mammals may appear small and fragile to the finder but may be, in fact, completely weaned and independent at a small size. Cottontail rabbits are a great example. They are weaned and on their own at 3 weeks of age and, at the size of an apple, still appear small and helpless. Some animals depend on being camouflaged and remaining still, which makes them easy to catch and makes them appear 'helpless'. The best course of action if you find an animal that you are concerned about is to take the following steps:
Do not touch or approach the animal.
Observe the animal from a distance in a position where the animal is unaware of your presence. Does it appear to be feeding on anything? Is it nibbling on grass or rooting its nose around in the leaf litter?
Make notes of its behavior and location and contact a wildlife rehabilitator for advice
How to Find a Wildlife Rehabilitator
If you find an injured animal, take these few steps and save yourself time and hassle! Contact your veterinarian or one in your area that may be able to assist with immediate care (triage, bleeding, broken bones, etc). Next, try to locate a trained and certified wildlife rehabilitator. While wildlife rehabilitators are not veterinarians, they are best suited for caring for the animal once treated. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources maintains a contact list of rehabilitators by county.
Click here to download the list of Georgia Wildlife Rehabilitators
How Can You Help?
Keep domestic cats indoors (A large percentage of the injured animals brought to us are victims of household pets)
Keep dogs on a leash while outside
Check your yard for wildlife prior to mowing. (Rabbit nests, snakes, box turtles are very vulnerable to lawnmowers)
Use natural, non-poisonous lawn care products
Use extra caution when driving at night, particularly on dark and rural back roads. (Automobiles are the number one cause of wildlife injuries we encounter)
Put stick-on raptor silhouettes or sun catchers on windows and sliding glass doors to avoid bird collisions
Don’t litter. Many animal deaths and injuries can be attributed to discarded fishing line, plastic six-pack holder rings, plastic bags and other trash.
Support your local wildlife agencies and rehabilitators. Most wildlife rehabilitators work on a volunteer basis, work out of their homes and all expenses incurred are paid for out of their own pockets.
Domestic Cats and Wildlife
As wildlife rehabilitators at CMNC, we are frequently faced with the dilemma of how to deal with the injured and orphaned wildlife brought to us as a result of domestic pet encounters, as well as the mindset of the pet owner/wildlife lover that went to so much effort to bring us the animal. Domestic cats are not native to the U.S. The introduction of any non-native species into an ecosystem can have detrimental and far-reaching results. Cats are instinctual predators. Even well fed pet cats will continue to hunt. Many species of wildlife are already suffering from habitat loss at the hands of humans. Predation by house cats is yet one more hardship we humans impose on wild animals already struggling to survive in our human-dominated world. There is something we can do on an individual level to help positively mitigate human impact on wildlife. We can keep our cats inside our homes as well as ensuring that our pets are spayed or neutered. Maintaining our cats as inside pets not only decreases the unwanted predation on wildlife but can also decrease vet bills since your pet will be protected from disease, injuries from other animals and automobiles.
For more in depth information on the relationship between domestic cats and wildlife please check out the following links:
Cochran Mill Nature Center
6300 Cochran Mill Road Palmetto, GA 30268
Phone: (770)306-0914 Fax (770) 306-8463