Have you found an animal you believe needs help?
First, carefully assess the situation.
The charming, little ‘Bambi’ you saw hidden and alone during a early summer hike might seem helpless and in need of human care. But don’t touch it, because the chances are the doe deer is nearby watching both you and her fawn.
Or perhaps you stumbled upon the nest of a wader bird, and then see one of the parents nearby, dragging a leg or a wing and seeming to be injured. The parent bird might be pretending to be hurt in a clever ploy to draw you away from her nest.
The best course of action is to withdraw and watch from a distance. Things might turn out fine without your help (an exception, of course, would be if you were certain that it was a life-threatening situation.)
So the first steps are: Stop, look and think.
If you move closer, does the animal just lay still or try to maintain its distance without being able to flee? As a rule, no wild animal will let you get close to it or grab it. If it does either, that could be a signal that something is very wrong.
Bird and birds of prey behaving like that may be extremely ill, and need prompt care from a veterinarian.
I’m sure this animal is sick or injured.
What is next?
1. First: Be careful. Wild animals have powerful instincts, can be extremely strong, and may hurt you in trying to defend themselves. Safety first.
2. Catch the animal. If that proves to be difficult, try throwing you jacket or another piece of cloth over it. When catching birds of prey watch out for their talons. If handling a mammal, especially a predator, watch out for their teeth.
3. Put it in a quiet and dark box or cage, on soft bedding (towels or cloth).
4. Call us at +47 403 19 426 and get the animal to the wildlife hospital. If we are too far away, please call us anyway because we are working on ways to transport animals to us, or may be able to refer you to a veterinarian closer to you.
5. Don’t feed it, unless we ask you to. Generally, the animal won’t need food if the travel time is less than five hours.
6. A captured wild animal is highly stressed. Stress kills, so leave it alone.
Remember: Wild animals are born to live free. As a private person, it would be illegal for you to keep a wild animal in captivity. We act under the wildlife law that allow us to treat wildlife under veterinary supervision and upon notification to the authorities.
The hospital focuses exclusively on wildlife and does not have the capacity to treat such birds and animals as hooded crows, feral pigeons, rats or stray dogs and cats.
Background photo by Richard Larssen