Do’s and Don’ts for Rescuing Wildlife

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a baby deerBy Arden Moore, a certified dog and cat behaviorist with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Arden is an author, radio host, and writer for Pets Best, a pet insurance agency for dogs and cats.

If a baby bird fell out of nest and landed in your front lawn, would you know what to do? And what not to do?

Or, let’s say you look out your sprawling, wooded backyard and see a fawn limping or even laying still. Should you approach?

October is designated as National Animal Safety and Prevention Month. Created by the PALS Foundation, this campaign is aimed at educating the public on the proper ways to handle and care for not only family pets but also wildlife. It is the ideal time to acknowledge the need to do our part to ensure we coexist with all animals in nature.

Here are a few ways you can do your part for baby birds, fawns and other wildlife:

  • Resist the temptation to rush out your door, pluck up the baby bird on your lawn and place him in the nest in the tree.

“In most cases, it is advised to leave them alone because nobody does a better job of raising and caring for their young then their own mom,” says Peregrine Wolff, DVM, a veterinarian with the Nevada Department of Wildlife and secretary of the American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians. “Falling out of the nest is a normal part of growing up for baby birds. The parents won’t go over to tend to their baby while you are there because they don’t want to attract the attention of predators.”

  • Practice patience and back off if you find an injured fawn in your backyard or on a hiking trail. Curiosity and compassion may motivate you and your family members to circle around the fawn, but do not. You may draw the ire of the fawn’s father.
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“Male deer are not usually that fearful of people during mating season and can attack people,” warns Dr. Wolff. “The mother may be hiding nearby and not visible to people. Back away because the mother will not approach until she feels safe. If the fawn is injured, the mother will come back periodically to nurse the fawn and clean him up to remove any trace of any scent that could alert predators.”

You can do your part by leaving the injured fawn where he is and providing specific location coordinates for wildlife officers or licensed wildlife rehabilitators to come to his aid.

As for a couple ways to celebrate this holiday with your dog? Make sure to pet-proof each room of your home and enroll in a pet first aid class. Learning what to do – and what not to do – in a pet emergency when minutes count is one of the best ways to be the best health ally to your dog.

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