What to do with a wild animal in distress?


What to do with a wild animal in distress?

Since its inception, the Ecomuseum Zoo has welcomed only non-releasable animals.  To be more precise, these animals may be injured, orphaned or born under human care. Despite their rehabilitations, their situation would make survival in the wild impossible.

It is important to note however that these conditions do not make the Ecomuseum Zoo a shelter or a rehabilitation center.  The type of operational permit we hold does not allow us to welcome injured animals directly from the hands of individuals, no matter how well intentioned they are.  We are in fact the “next step”: if the injured animal is declared “non-releasable” by a professional, it may find a home here at the zoo.

So, what do you do if you believe a wild animal is in distress?

Most often the best response, although difficult to understand, is to leave the animal alone.  Why? Quite simply because we do not possess the necessary and biological knowledge required to unravel some of nature’s little mysteries. As an example, White-tailed Deer often leave their young unattended for many hours before returning to care for them. Does this mean the young fawn is in danger?  Not likely, as fawns are well camouflaged by the spots on their coat and unlike their adult counterparts, no odor emanates from their body thereby ensuring they do not attract predators. Mother Nature is one smart cookie!

This example demonstrates clearly that before acting on your hunch, it is advisable to be well informed.  Sometimes the best of intentions lead to ineffective and even dangerous solutions.  When in doubt, call an expert who will guide you as to the steps to take if any.

If you have any questions, or if an emergency situation requires immediate attention, here are a few organisations that may provide helpful information or guidance:

For songbirds or waterfowl :

For fauna in general :

Your city’s SPCA is also an excellent source of information to learn of the best practices in situations where you might come across an animal that may be injured or in danger. They probably won’t be able to welcome the animal in their facilities, but will be able to give you great advice.

Remember that more often than not it is best to let nature take its course. In cases where human intervention is required, please contact an expert. That’s what they are there for!