What do I do if I find an abandoned or hurt baby animal?

Nov. 02, 2013 @ 11:24 PM

The state parks policy is to “allow nature to take its course.”

We are not to intervene. However, we are only human and have great compassion for wildlife. If the animal is suffering and the animal will not survive transport or rehabilitation help, we will dispatch the animal to end the suffering.

However, we have had visitors drop off what appeared to be abandoned baby wildlife. These animals have been taken to Frank Newell of Newell Farms Wildlife Center, where they are rehabilitated.

I recently interviewed Frank Newell and his staff on the subject of what to do with hurt or abandoned wildlife. The following are important points Frank and his staff would like to share.

— If you find a fawn, unless you witnessed the mother killed, it is probably not abandoned and you should leave it alone. The mother is more than likely nearby and waiting for you to leave.
— If you find a baby bird or squirrel on the ground, first, look for a nest. If you find the nest and it is safe to do so, put the bird/squirrel back into the nest. The mother will not abandon the baby because it has a “human scent”.
— Be careful around any injured or ill wildlife. They may have an illness that can be transmitted to humans and they may be very aggressive.
— If you touch the wildlife, make sure to wash your hands afterward.
— There are many species of wildlife rehabilitation centers cannot take because of government restrictions.
— If you have determined that the baby/injured animal needs help, call a local rehabilitation center for further instruction. Do not feed the wildlife unless instructed. Their diet is much different from the food we consume.
— Make sure you do not wait. An animal should be taken to a rehabilitation center within 24 hours of discovery.
— To find a rehabilitation center near you, go online to http://www.ncwildlife.org/InjuredWildlife.aspx and enter your county. This will direct you to your closest wildlife rehabilitation center.

In our area, the place to call is Newell Farms Wildlife Center: (252) 257-4427 and (252) 213-6410.

Thank you for your compassion.
P.S. Thank you to all of our veterans and to my brothers and sisters. Happy Birthday, Devil Dogs!

Contact the writer at jessica.b.williams@ncparks.gov.