How You Can Help Save Mississippi Wildlife?

What should you do if you find an injured animal? If the animal is bleeding, shivering, vomiting or has obviously been attacked by a cat or a dog, call a wildlife rehabilitator or your state wildlife agency for assistance. If you must contain the animal until help arrives, please do not feed or water it. Note exactly where the animal was found (for release purposes) and keep it in a warm, dark, quiet place. Wash your hands after contact.

What should you do if you find an orphaned animal? The most important thing to do is to make sure the animal is truly orphaned. Wild animals make extremely good parents and most babies do not need our help. Most wild mothers routinely leave their babies to feed, however they are close by but will not return if humans are present. Fledgling birds normally spend a few days on the ground being fed by parents, so as long as Mom and Dad are near the baby will be fine. A baby's best chance for survival is with its parents. Many times well-meaning rescuers pick up and take away healthy youngsters while their parents watch.

If you know the mother is dead, or if the baby is injured, call a wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible. While well-meaning, most people do not have the skills needed to rehabilitate an animal, successfully returning it to the wild.

It is against Federal Laws for untrained people to administer aid to injured or orphaned wildlife. Rescue them, but call Mississippi Wildlife Rehabilitation, Inc. at 662-429-5105 as soon as possible!

Baby Squirrels: Often after a bad storm, baby squirrels are found on the ground under a tree. Every effort should be made to try to reunite the baby with the mother. Place the baby in a container with holes punched in the bottom for drainage. Place the container at the base of the tree, or secure it to a low branch where its mother can retrieve it. Leave the area. Mother will not return if there is activity by humans or domestic animals. Do not attempt to feed or water the baby. Squirrel babies emit a high-pitched sound that is sometimes inaudible to human ears. This will help mother locate her baby. If mother has not retrieved the baby after 4 to 6 hours, call the wildlife center for help.

Baby Bunnies: If their nest has been damaged, it can be repaired. Look for a shallow depression lined with grass/fur. Place babies in the nest with light layers of grass to hide them. Leave the area or the mother won’t return. (Mothers return only at dawn & dusk to feed the babies.) If you find healthy bunnies that are 4-5 inches long, able to hop, with eyes open and ears up, they DO NOT NEED YOUR HELP! They are able to survive on their own. If you are uncertain mother rabbit is returning to feed the babies, place a couple of pieces of yarn criss-cross on the nest. If the yarn has been disturbed the next morning, mother is returning to the nest.

Baby Raccoons: Mother raccoons prepare their nests where it is most convenient, for her that is. Any opening high up off the ground is subject to mom’s scrutiny when trying to choose a nest site. If a baby is found on the ground after a storm and you cannot place the baby back in the nest, apply the same instruction as with baby squirrels. Keep it warm but out of the sun.

Baby Birds: Determine its age. Does it have feathers? If not and you know where the nest is located, replace the hatchling in the nest. If it is feathered and not obviously injured, broken wing, leg, etc.) clear all pets and children away from the fledgling and observe it for an hour. Chances are the parents will return for it. They may be waiting until all the activity has died down before approaching the youngster. If you have tried all this, carefully pick up the baby and put it immediately in a small cardboard box or plastic food container large enough for the bird to stand up in or move around a bit. Place the box in a warm, QUIET area of the house and call your local wildlife rehabilitation center for further instructions. Do not offer the bird food or water until you have spoken with them and avoid peeking at or disturbing the bird.

Baby ducks and geese are treated the same way. Always observe young waterfowl before picking it up. These birds are doting parents and will respond to a lost offspring. They do know how many babies they have. Because of this, they’ll backtrack until they find the errant youngster. If you listen, you’ll hear the duckling/gosling calling for its parents. If you’re sure the duckling/gosling is an orphan, follow the same steps as above. Place it in a padded box/container, covered with a towel, and put it in a warm, QUIET place. You’ll want to use a deeper container for ducklings as they will jump. Immediately call the rehabilitation center for instructions.

Cats Indoors! Bird conservationists report over 63 million wildlife are destroyed every year by our adorable kitty cats. Indoor cats are safe from poisons, automobiles, dogs and possible disease. Doesn’t it make sense to help take care of our wildlife and at the same time have a healthy, happy indoor cat? Please, cat attacks are one of the main reasons we get injured songbirds in the summer. If you love your cat and love wildlife, please keep your cat indoors!

Wildlife Diseases: There are a number of wildlife diseases that can be passed on to you. Some of these diseases can cause serious problems and even death. Wear gloves when handling any wildlife and NEVER allow children to handle or cuddle wildlife.

Can I Keep It? Wildlife laws are made not only to protect wildlife, but to also protect the general public. It is illegal in most states to keep wild animals if you don’t have permits, even if you plan to release them. It is illegal to have them in your possession. Songbirds and birds of prey are protected by Federal law and have fines of $15,000 up and jail time. Even the nests and feathers of songbirds and raptors are protected.

A young animal’s best chance for survival is to be raised by its natural mother. ONLY after all efforts to reunite the baby with its mother have been exhausted should a possible orphan be removed from the wild! DO NOT try to raise the baby yourself!

Mississippi Wildlife Rehabilitation, Inc.
9865 Green River Road Lake Cormorant, MS 38641
(662) 429-5105

Mississippi Wildlife Rehabilitation, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization that accepts tax deductible contributions.

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