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Injured and Abandoned Wildlife

The ODC Network does NOT perform wildlife rehabilitation at any of its facilities.

We are sorry that we can not personally help you, but we have listed some information below that may help you deal with your situation. Remember, wild animals are unpredictable, use extreme caution when handling wildlife and discourage children from interacting with abandoned or injured animals. Leave it to the experts who have been trained to deal with the situation.

It may be sad to see an abandoned or injured animal, but the best thing you may be able to do for it would be to leave it alone! In most cases, our human emotions are the only things that are benefiting from intervening on the natural cycle of life and death. Sometimes, animals are not abandoned rather intentionally left alone by their parents while they are away foraging. Once people move away and/or it is evening, a parent could return to care for their young and relocate them if necessary.

Wild animals can be unpredictable, and touching or handling them can be a hazard to your health. It is best to leave rescue and care for injured or abandoned wildlife to professionals.

Do not attempt to pick up an injured or abandoned wild animal unless instructed to do so by a licensed professional. If the situation requires you to take temporary action, protect yourself from harm by handling the animal with suitable gloves. If it appears hopeless for the injured or abandoned animal, with caution, remove the animal from view or further harm by pets or traffic so that nature can take its course.

Never encourage or condone a child to handle abandoned or injured wild animals. Limiting the amount of human interaction time during the encounter will likely increase the survival chances of an animal.

If you encounter a situation that needs to be addressed (ex. animal injured by a car but is still alive), try calling your local law enforcement agency or a local conservation officer.

Locate a State of Michigan Conservation Officer near you.

Locate a Michigan licensed rehabilitator near you.

Injured or abandoned animals often do not require immediate food. Dehydration is a greater threat to an animal’s life. Unless instructed to do so by a licensed professional until they can take over care, do not attempt to give food or water to an injured or abandoned animal.

If you are concerned that children may be negatively affected by their encounter with injured or abandoned wildlife, take the opportunity to discuss with them natural life cycles. Reinforce that this process of life and death is important in the overall health of an ecosystem. Each animal plays a role in the success in a community of organisms by being food for other animals and by finding food. This complex set of interactions between predators and prey; producers, consumers, and decomposers; and omnivores, herbivores, carnivores and scavengers make up a food web.

In many cases, an injured animal has only a small chance of surviving treatment, rehabilitation, and reintroduction to the wild by people. Caring for an injured animal takes training and experience. Common animals like rabbits, squirrels and robins who are injured will not have a negative impact on the ecosystem if they die. The overall health of the population will be strong as new animals take over territory and function as a new line in the food web.