AS OF JUNE 18, 2020, WE ARE FINISHING UP THE FINAL STAGES OF TRANSITIONING OUR VOLUNTEER TRANSPORT NETWORK.
We are still doing transports. But we are giving rehabbers and veterinary personnel (that work with wildlife) in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee direct access to our online volunteer network system. This will be an ongoing process. And we appreciate everyone's patience during this transition. This will allow us to expand and focus more on volunteer recruitment, educational events, and fundraising for those in the wildlife rescue community.
How it will work: A member of the public will make arrangements with a wildlife rehabber or veterinary personnel to accept the injured, ill, or truly orphaned wild animal. If that person cannot transport or find anyone that can, the rehabber or veterinary personnel can directly request assistance from our volunteer transporters. If a volunteer can be found, the rehabber or veterinary personnel will notify the person that has the animal and finish making arrangements.
You may find a rehabber or veterinary personnel in our area of coverage that can take a wild animal in need of assistance but is not aware of us. In that case, please e-mail us for assistance.
Also, we are not wildlife rehabilitators. If you find an injured or a truly orphaned wild animal, please use Animal Help Now to find the nearest permitted wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian able to triage wildlife. The person responsible for finding the injured or orphaned animal is usually the best option for transport as opposed to searching possibly hours or days to find transport help.
If the animal has an obvious injury, please contact a wildlife rehabber or specified veterinary clinic as soon as possible. Please keep in mind that some animals are mistaken as injured or ill because of a lack of understanding of what is normal behavior for a wild animal. Please do not waste time searching what to feed the animal. This will do more harm than good and wastes crucial time as the animal needs prompt medical attention.
Young wildlife is often mistaken as orphans due to a lack of understanding on how wild mammalian and avian parents interact with their young. Before you pick up a young wild animal that is not obviously injured, please consult with a professional rehabber or use the resources here. Young birds are on the ground for a certain period of time, depending on species, while learning how to fly and forage or hunt. Young rabbits and fawns are left alone the majority of the day. Renesting and reuniting young wildlife is always the best option. Their natural parents are the best providers allowing them to have the greatest chance for survival.
There are federal and state regulations* in place that do not allow the public to attempt to rehab or raise a young wild animal without proper permits. Requirements for a rehabilitation permit may include a test, volunteer hours (detailed experience), and building and having enclosures inspected. So it is unlikely that you will receive a permit because you want to raise the animal you found. The wild animal also has specific dietary and housing requirements in addition to socialization needs that can only be met by being placed with conspecifics.
*Federal regulations protect birds listed under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act via the USFWS. Most state wildlife agencies have regulations that prevent the public from having a wild animal in their possession for over a certain time period without proper permits.
DO THE RIGHT THING
Wildlife rehabbers are typically inundated with patients that were mistaken as orphans and then traumatized by improper handling or ill due to improper diet. Because wildlife rehabbers only have so much funding and housing capacity, this leaves little room for animals that genuinely need their help. Do your part by heeding professional advice. Wild animals are worthy of receiving professional attention and care and to not be treated like a temporary project or as a pet.
Below are resources for determining if a wild animal needs intervention. Feel free to e-mail us with questions or contact your local rehabber for further advice. Do not waste time deciding what to feed a young wild animal. This will do more harm than good and wastes crucial time for renesting and reuniting or transporting to a permitted rehabber.