For more information on the Wildlife Rehabilitators Program, please contact WDFW Wildlife Rehabilitation staff.

E-mail: patricia.thompson@dfw.wa.gov

DO NOT use this email address to report sick or injured wildlife. For sick or injured wildlife please contact a local wildlife rehabilitator

 

 

 

In the spring it is a perfectly natural occurrence to come across a fawn that is seemingly by itself.

Found Injured Wildlife?

Contact a local Wildlife Rehabilitator

Or call a WDFW Regional Office

When NOT to "Rescue" a Wild Animal

Many wild animals do not need to be "rescued" and there is almost NEVER a time when you should remove a baby wild animal from its natural environment – even if it appears abandoned. More often than not, just leaving a young animal alone affords it the best chance for survival.

Every year hundreds of young wild animals such as fawns, baby seals, and baby birds are needlessly "rescued" and referred to wildlife rehabilitators. This is extremely detrimental and harmful to the young animal, as well as disruptive and costly to wildlife rehabilitators when they most need to concentrate limited resources on truly orphaned or injured wildlife. Unless the animal is showing obvious signs of illness or injury such as bleeding, vomiting, panting, shivering, lethargy, ruffled feathers or fur, attack by cat/dog, leave them there. You can help by always consulting a licensed wildlife rehabilitator prior to collecting the animal, thereby preventing its handling.

Why these babies do not need rescuing. Young animals are often left alone for hours while their parents gather food. They are being tended by their parents in ways best for their survival and appropriate for that species, ensuring that they retain natural wild behaviors. It is normal and typical for a deer fawn to be left alone hiding in a bed. It is also common for young birds to leave the nest before they are fully feathered or flight-ready. They will be fed on the ground for a day or two by the parents until they are able to fly. Careful observation before distressing and collecting these animals should help you make a correct decision whether or not they are truly orphaned or injured and need help.


Donny Martorello of the Washington Department of Fish
and Wildlife, urges people to leave wildlife in the wild.

Yes, very young birds sometimes fall out of nests. If you can safely reach the nest, put it back. The adults will NOT reject their young because "they smell like people."  If the bird is older or you cannot find the nest, place it in a tree or shrub or on a shaded portion of a roof, out of the way of cats, dogs, and children. Do not unnecessarily handle or move it from the general area where it was found. If a baby bird shows obvious signs of illness or injury, call a wildlife rehabilitator first and describe what you see.

Email wildlife rehabilitation questions to rehabcoord@dfw.wa.gov