Virginia wildlife rehabilitators say good intentions can lead to bad outcomes for animals in distress - Reuters

Virginia wildlife rehabilitators say good intentions can lead to bad outcomes for animals in distress – Reuters

At the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center in Boyce, Virginia, a recent conference focused on the question titled “Best Intentions Gone Wrong.”

The photo of two cottontail rabbits shows the obvious difference when wildlife is cared for by discoverers who mean well but don’t contact a rehabilitator right away, compared to those who receive immediate care from licensed rehabilitators. (Courtesy of Blue Ridge Wildlife Center)

Courtesy of Blue Ridge Wildlife Center

A person who found this young eastern rat snake pulled it out of a glue trap. When they saw that the abduction resulted in a laceration, they brought her to the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center for treatment rather than releasing her themselves. (Courtesy of Blue Ridge Wildlife Center)

Courtesy of Blue Ridge Wildlife Center

Carly Corbin answers the phone at the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center in Boyce, Virginia. (Courtesy of Blue Ridge Wildlife Center)

Courtesy of Blue Ridge Wildlife Center

Wildlife rehabilitators say the human instinct to save an animal that seems abandoned or injured can make things worse for the creature.

At the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center in Boyce, Virginia, a recent conference focused on the question titled “Best Intentions Gone Wrong.”

Office Manager Carly Corbin and Assistant Staff Veterinarian Dr. Emily Hsieh moderated the session. Corbin spoke to OMCP about cases that show what can go wrong when people who aren’t rehabilitators try to care for an animal, and what steps people should take when they sense an animal may be in trouble.



Corbin, who is often the first voice callers hear when contacting the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center for advice, said finding fawns that appear to be abandoned by their mothers generates many calls. It illustrates a common misunderstanding of normal wildlife behavior. Deer often leave their fawns to feed, then return to care for their young.

“Something that may seem worrisome and unusual to someone may be completely normal for this species,” Corbin said.

In one case, a Eastern Screech-Owl had been hit by a car. According to Corbin, the people who initially cared for the owl thought the raptor would be fine. Along with squinting a bit and perching unsteadily on one foot, “the owl seemed to be very alert, very aware, it looked physically good,” she said.

But after almost a week in the care of someone who wasn’t a rehabilitation worker, the owl was brought to Blue Ridge.

“After X-rays, we found he had severe fractures in several parts of his body,” Corbin said, adding that the level and severity of the injuries were incurable and the owl had been humanely euthanized.

She said the best thing to do when you fear an animal is in distress is to contact wildlife rehabilitators. If it is clear that an animal has been injured, they can advise you.

In the event of an attempt to rescue an injured animal, the best thing to do is to keep the animal in a calm, quiet and dark environment, such as a carrier or cardboard box, Corbin said. Resist the urge to check, she says, because it can increase stress.

“No peek, no food or water,” she said until you can take it to a rehab in your area.

Some people may be hesitant to call, but Corbin said, “That’s what we’re here for.” They even talk to younger callers.

“I received many phone calls from children,” she says.

“We are accessible every day of the year”, including weekends and public holidays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. “You can always contact us and leave a message if you can’t make it through.”

To find out how to help an animal that concerns you, go to the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center website. Also check out to learn more about regional wildlife rehabilitators in Virginia, DC and Maryland.

#Virginia #wildlife #rehabilitators #good #intentions #lead #bad #outcomes #animals #distress #Reuters

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *