Perhaps the best part of this time of are all of the baby animals that are born. After all, who can resist a tiny, fuzzy bunny or a clumsy fawn?
What’s an animal lover to do, though, when you find a baby animal that seems to be in need of help? The most important part of helping baby wildlife is understanding your role in the situation. Vaughn Road Veterinary Clinic is happy to help those who care about animals as much as we do, to do a great job when it comes to looking out for critters of all shapes and sizes.
Understanding the Laws
When it comes to helping baby wildlife, the answer is often to do no harm. While humans often have good intentions when they try to intervene with an animal in distress, oftentimes more damage is done when we meddle with Mother Nature.
In the state of Alabama, a wildlife rehabilitation permit is required in order to possess a sick, injured, or orphaned wild animal. Not even our doctors are allowed to treat or handle wildlife without the permit, even if the intention is to release the animal. No matter how well-intentioned, trying to help may be illegal.
While this law may seem harsh, it is in place for very good reasons. Prohibiting the handling of wildlife species by those who have not been properly educated protects both the humans involved and those wild species that we wish to help.
If you find young animals that you feel needs to be helped, you should contact a wildlife rehabilitator in your area for help.
What You Can Do When It Comes to Helping Baby Wildlife
So, what can you do when it comes to helping baby wildlife? Understanding the species you are most likely to encounter is a good start. Know that most baby wildlife are left alone for long periods of time, so the fact that you have not seen an adult does not necessarily mean the little critter has been orphaned.
- Give the animals some space, because hovering too closely can make adults anxious, preventing a mother-baby reunion.
- If a baby has been removed from its nest by a curious pet or child, return it to where it belongs. Touching it will not prevent the mother from caring for it.
- Wild animals are meant to be in the wild, and bad weather or other obstacles are part of their natural acclimation.
- Injured wildlife is often better off left to heal; high mortality rates are associated with human intervention.
- Do your best to control your domestic pets to prevent wildlife injury. Keeping your cat indoors and your dog on a leash can make a huge difference!
- Save tree pruning until after nests are abandoned for the year.
Creating a refuge for wildlife on your property can also be a fun and helpful task. Providing native plants, water, and cover can give animals a safe and enriching environment to raise their young.
Helping baby wildlife directly, unless under the guidance of a wildlife rehabilitation expert, is probably not in nature’s best interest. However, there are so many ways that you can make a positive impact on the world of wildlife.