Wildlife Rescue - How do you deal with it?

Do you know good resources or rescue techniques for injured or sick wild animals?

In the year or two that I’ve been out doing more nature observations, I more frequently notice injured wild animals. If it’s something I can capture myself, I take it myself to a local wildlife rescue/rehab organization (a mt. King snake and a pigeon).

Frequently it is just not feasible for me to capture an animal (lately, a sick coyote, injured deer, an entangled cormorant).

But, i have a real hard time dealing with those animals I cannot capture myself and I’ve spent hours on the phone trying to find assistance from City, County, and State orgs, plus NGOs. I’m still a bit haunted by the animals for which I could not enlist help. I wish I knew how to find better resources.

Any guides or tips for dealing with hurting wildlife?

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I would love to see tips given here, since I myself don’t know any.

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In NZ, SPCA often give good advice, or can put you in contact with someone who can help.

I’d also caution on the type of situations that are intervened on. If it’s an animal injured by humans or human related situations, then by all means, but if it’s an animal that has incurred natural injuries etc, then it might be better to let nature takes its course. You could inadvertantly be denying another set of organisms from the opportunity to benefit naturally from the normal cycle of events. In other words, keep in mind that the “good” that you are trying to do could actually be “bad”.

I recall the effect that the albatross documentary had on me. There is a powerful amount of “good” that can come from not intervening, and just “bearing witness” to that process and communicating it to others…

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If it’s an animal that is listed for the state/province/country as a species of concern, than sending a picture with location to the local conservation district or forest preserve might help. Last year, someone called us about a Blanding’s Turtle that they had picked up that had been along the highway, we have a couple of reptile guys and one of them raced over there to get it and put a tracker on it. It was then released into a nearby site from where it was found. Probably won’t help for a coyote, but if it’s state threatened or endangered, someone might go out.

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This probably depends on where you are located, but if you are in the United States I would give a call to the local game warden. In Texas, for example, the wardens work for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. Even if they can’t help, they may know about others in the area that could.

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Local SPCA in my area: if I actually get a person on the phone, the SPCA directs me to the wildlife rescues I already know about. And this, I know do not have resources to come out to help with capture. My county, sorry to say :worried:, is not very good for this stuff, compared to some nearby counties.

I wish I could reach local game wardens, but the only numbers I can find (following hours of searching, redirects, and referrals), are for regional offices. Regional offices mostly just have recordings (currently, at least), are barely open, and acting very hands off on wildlife rescue. I am sort of appalled, TBH.

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I will say in the local coastal communities, I’ve found numbers and contacts with Native Animal Rescue, that at least talk to you in person. But, if it is a more common species (cormorant, deer, coyote), they have been more sympathetic than actually helpful. Still, better than the cold ear I get from wildlife officials.

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Perhaps, what I may need is some practical advice for capturing clearly injured wildlife.

Sadly, I am almost 70 with medical issues that leave me less nimble than I used to be.

Are there some practical tips for capturing animals? Lately (because I was looking for a lost cat), I have gloves, cat food, and a medium animal carrier in my trunk. But, I have no practical skill in capturing animals.

And, frankly it doesn’t help that my significant other completely freaks out when I’ve tried to help an animal (lost, feral, or wild). And that’s a thing to deal with also.

I’m ~not~ a red hot rescue peep, truly. I just come across situations more often these days.

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I am not familiar with the documentary. I would like to see it; if only to see if it settles my mind about the animals I could not find help for when they seemed to need it.

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Often a blanket, shirt or other fabric is useful to throw over the animal. It effectively calms it down and allows you to handle it safely (I’m mostly talking about birds and small mammals)

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There is a wonderful book called Rescuing Wildlife (it has a baby deer on the front cover) and it is very useful!

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https://www.albatrossthefilm.com/
not really a “feel good” film… although it has some heart warming moments, it is ultimately a “bearing witness to the harm we do” video…

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I have that book! I love it! It is awesome.

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Cool!

Please be very careful how you interact with wildlife. While I applaud your concern, you also need to be aware that you may be interfering with the natural order of things. A perfect example are ticks/mites on mammals/reptiles.
Most caring people believe they should remove the ticks to save the animal suffering. But female reptiles won’t mate with a male that has too many ticks. It’s a sign of poor genes. So by “helping” the individual, you are interfering with the gene pool; ergo negatively interfering with wildlife … the natural order.
Similarly, shooting wombats with mange. A disgraceful act of “kind heartedness”. They’ve now discovered wombats can recover from mange, and many wombats will have a joey. So the mother that’s shot might have been be able to keep it alive to self sufficiency; now it will die of starvation.
I’m not being cruel, but humans need to stop interfering. There’s too much we don’t understand about how it works.
Cheers
Brett
www.ellura.info

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That is genuinely helpful. Thanks. It relieves some of the angst I’ve felt when I was unable to get help. I would still choose to take that snake with the mower amputation and the pigeon found flopping on the sidewalk into the wildlife rescue hospital (they both needed to be euthanized to limit suffering). And, I’m pleased that one tiny opossum joey (his family was road killed) was fostered and survived to be released back to the wild. But, I think I feel less regret for being unable to help the sick coyote or injured mule deer.

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Thank you, I’m glad, I’m always worried I’ll be taken the wrong way with these things :-)
Yes, with road/mower injuries, etc; well mankind caused the injury so helping there isn’t interfering but righting a wrong.
With the pigeon in the suburbs, yes good on you :-) But if that was in the wild/native habitat you’d be depriving a predator of a meal. Even ants, carrion beetles, etc, are all very important parts of a balance ecosystem. Right down to the nutrients that go back into the soil from the carrion to support plant growth.
Nature is harsh, it’s not all warm & fuzzy, and we have to think of our impact on the whole system, not just the one poor individual. I think “tough love” is apt phrase here.

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I think a lot more people need to realize that.

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Ok, sure, but it depends on context. there is no way an injured bird where I live would get picked up by a goanna or quoll, the introduced predators would get there first. I realise that it is the right thing to do in many places, but there are exceptions.
Also, our empathy towards other people/ organisms is what makes us human; It’s not wrong to want to save injured wildlife.

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