Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) received many calls concerning injured or orphaned wildlife and how to care for those animals.
In cases where a bird or mammal has been injured and is in need of assistance, concerned citizens should contact a certified wildlife rehabilitator by calling LDWF Urban/Nuisance Wildlife Biologist, Brandon Wear, at 225-765-3557. Wildlife rehabilitators have the training, skills, and facilities necessary to care for most injured animals, and are permitted by LDWF to rehabilitate injured wildlife in Louisiana.
Possessing wild animals without a permit is against state law. Furthermore, certain species, such as migratory birds, are afforded additional protection under federal law. Should a rehabilitator not be available, the animals should be left in their natural habitat. Though this may sound like a cruel alternative, it is a natural process that helps regulate wildlife population levels.
Each year, well-intentioned people attempt to rescue small animals they thought were abandoned. However, many animals are taken from a completely normal situation. The mother of the small animal may be attempting to teach her offspring how to forage, walk or fly.
While it may appear that the small animal is left alone, a mothers watchful eye may not be far away. Adult animals frequently leave their young to forage for food, but rarely abandon them.
Wildlife parents attempt to conceal their young from humans and other animals. When humans handle or move young wildlife, it increases the chances that the parent may abandon the young or may not be able to find them. The best advice would be to leave young animals alone trying not to disturb them and let the parents care for them.
EDITORS: For more information, contact Brandon Wear, LDWF Urban/Nuisance Wildlife Biologist at 225-763-3557 or firstname.lastname@example.org . You may also visit the LDWF Web site at www.wlf.louisiana.gov .