If you have found injured, orphaned, or oiled wildlife
please call our hotline at 780-914-4118
Your call is very important to us. When you call, you may have to leave a voicemail message. Please be patient as we deal with the animals currently in our care. We will get back to you as soon as possible.
After you have left a message, please seek advice by clicking here.
These are the main questions to answer:
1. Is the animal injured or orphaned, or are you seeing natural behaviours?
Please call the Wildlife Hotline (780-914-4118) for advice. If we are closed, please research the animal and the issue you are noticing. What you are witnessing might be perfectly normal! A mother duck may pretend to have a broken wing if she feels her babies are threatened, grounded birds may just be fledglings, a baby hare alone is not necessarily orphaned, etc.
2. If the animal is obviously injured (visible blood or dangling limb), or if you know for certain that it is orphaned, what should you do?
Depending on the type of wildlife and its location, you may be asked to call Fish & Wildlife to collect the animal. Large animals, or those that pose a high risk to a rescuer’s safety, may require help from trained conservation officers.
If you are comfortable doing so, you may rescue (collect) small animals and birds that are injured or orphaned. Please follow the instructions provided by WRSE hotline staff to protect yourself and the animal.
Here are a few tips for collecting animals and birds:
- You will need leather gloves, eye protection, an old towel or sheet, and a cardboard box with a lid
- Please note that the type of box you put the wild animal in is extremely important! A bird must be able to turn around in the box without damaging any of its feathers (many birds of prey depend on their tail feathers to help them hover while hunting). Damaged feathers can make the difference between spending two weeks in rehabilitation versus six months!
- Make sure that any air holes are not large enough for the animal to poke its head out of, or it will do so until it is exhausted from trying to escape. Reduce the amount of visual and auditory stimuli. Dark and quiet is best.
- Use a towel or sheet (unless you are handling a porcupine) to drape over the animal before you pick it up. Do not use a towel to collect a porcupine – please get specific instructions from staff.
- Gently scoop the animal up (there are special instructions for adult hares and raptors, and any large wild animals – talk to staff before touching these animals) and place it in a cardboard box that it fits into comfortably and that is lined with a towel or paper towel.
3. Where should you take the animal that you have collected?
It is extremely important that once you have collected a wild animal you arrange to bring it to WRSE. If you cannot make it to one of our facilities (Click here for locations) please bring to one of our participating vet clinics as soon as possible. WRSE has professional Wildlife Rehabilitators on staff with the training and the tools to safely handle wildlife and to provide prompt medical treatment.
Do not attempt to rehabilitate or raise wildlife on your own. Most wild animals are protected by law, and a special permit is required to house them in an enclosure for any amount of time.
WRSE cares about the well-being of these injured animals and will do everything possible to rehabilitate them and return them to the wild. When you bring the animal in, you will be given a case number so you can phone and check up on how the animal is progressing.
In most cases, WRSE returns the wild animal back to where it came from.
For more info on helping baby birds click helpbabybirds.ca
Info Pamphlet Series: