If you find a bird or terrestrial mammal that has been injured and is in need of assistance, contact a permitted wildlife rehabilitator. 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. They temporarily care for wildlife until they can be successfully returned to the wild.
If a wildlife rehabilitator is not available, please leave the animal in its natural habitat. Though this may sound like a cruel alternative, it is a natural process that helps regulate wildlife population levels.
Do not call a wildlife rehabilitator for situations regarding a fawn or adult deer. Wildlife rehabilitators are not permitted to take any fawns or deer without prior approval from LDWF. Instead, call your local LDWF office.
Sea Turtles/Marine Mammals
If you see a sick, injured, entangled, stranded, or dead sea turtle or marine mammal, please report it as soon as possible. Provide as much information as you can, including photos and a GPS location.
- Report sea turtle strandings to the Louisiana Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network at 844.SEA.TRTL (844.732.8785). Select Option 4 to report a sea turtle, and then Option 4 for Louisiana. If there is no answer, leave a message with your name, number, the date, location of the sea turtle, and its condition.
- Report marine mammal strandings to the NOAA Southeast Region Marine Mammal Stranding Network at 877.942.5343.
Sea turtles and marine mammals are protected by state and federal laws such as the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. It is illegal to feed, injure, or kill marine mammals and sea turtles (or harvest their eggs). If you see any potential violations, please report it immediately. You may report violations anonymously.
- Report violations to NOAA Fisheries Enforcement Hotline at 800.853.1964 or LDWF's Operation Game Thief at 800.442.2411.
It is illegal to possess wildlife native to North America as a pet or for the pet trade/industry. There is no permit for this, and no permit will be issued for such activity.
Well-meaning people often attempt to rescue small animals they think are abandoned. However, many of these animals are taken from completely normal situations. For example, the mother of a small animal may be attempting to teach her offspring how to forage, walk, or fly. Adult animals frequently leave their young to forage for food but rarely abandon them. While it may appear that the small animal has been left alone, a mother's watchful eye may not be far away. Adult animals also try to conceal their young from humans and other animals. When humans handle or move young animals, the parent may abandon the young or may not be able to find them.
Leave young animals alone, try not to disturb them, and let the parents care for them. Be sure to review the information below before you intervene.
Louisiana deer typically fawn between March through September. A fawn is most vulnerable to predators during the first few weeks of its life. To help their fawns avoid predators, does find locations for them to hide and remain still. Does often leave the fawns alone while walking off some distance to forage for food or observe the fawn's location. People out hiking or working in deer habitat often see these fawns and assume they are lost. LDWF often receives reports from people who have “rescued” a fawn and brought it home. Though well-meaning, this is the wrong thing to do and is, in fact, illegal. You may not capture wild white-tailed deer, including fawns. Instead, if you find a fawn, back away from it and leave it alone. The unseen doe likely is watching you and will soon be back to nurse and check on the fawn.