Nature is all around you. You may be out on a hike, taking a drive, or enjoying your own back yard. The animals in your community live alongside you and occasionally they need your help. It’s not uncommon to come across an injured animal. Do you know what to do in a wild animal emergency?

You’ve Spotted an Animal You Think is in Trouble, Now What?

Okay, so you’re out on a walk or bike ride and you see an animal that appears to be distressed. What do you do? The first step is to assess the age of the animal. Is it a baby or a young animal? In many cases, the parents of a young animal are close by. The baby isn’t in any danger. Rather it is exploring its surroundings under the watchful eye of a parent. Depending on the animal, if you step in to help it, you could get hurt.
 
Is the Animal Injured?

Once you’ve determined the approximate age of the animal and ensured that there are no parents nearby, it’s time to get a closer look. Is the animal injured? Animals generally only need help if they are suffering from a broken leg or wing. If they are bleeding or unconscious they need your help, as is also the case if they appear to be abandoned and starving. Another instance of a wild animal emergency is if the creature is caught in a trap.

How You Can Help

It’s important to have the right supplies available and to be prepared. It’s not uncommon to get injured or bitten while trying to help a wild animal. The most useful items to have include:

•    A towel
•    Protective gloves
•    A bin or bucket to contain the animal
•    A net to catch the animal or a tool, like a shovel, to gently lift a larger animal

And always make sure you know the directions and phone number of your local wildlife response team. That includes animal control, veterinary hospitals, and animal shelters.

In general, if you find a young animal in need of your help then the best thing you can do is return them to their nest or their home. If you find an adult animal or a larger animal like a deer or fox that needs your assistance it’s best to call animal welfare or a wildlife rescue organization. They have the means and the knowledge to care for the animal.

If you come across a wild animal emergency, do not bring the animal home. The best thing you can do for the animal is return it to its habitat or to call animal welfare experts. In fact, many animals are endangered or protected and it is a crime to take them home. Protect yourself and the injured animal by letting its parents or the authorities take care of it.

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