Usually when someone sees a wild animal in trouble, he or she wants to help it and make sure it is well fed. However, Wendy Brown, chair of the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee and a licensed wildlife rehabilitation custodian, said feeding a wild animal that is either sick, hurt, or abandoned can make the situation even worse.
“For example, if you find a baby squirrel, if it’s hypothermic and you feed it, that can actually increase the chance it will not make it,” she explained. Brown added giving cow’s milk to any animal is harmful for their health, because they are intolerant to it. Instead, she suggested to keep the animal in a quiet, contained space, such as a box, with ambient heat and away from other animals or people.
“A heat source is good, because often they’re suffering from shock,” she explained.
Brown added it’s important to keep yourself safe when handling a wild animal, by washing your hands, and avoid being bitten. However, you can go to the Middlesex-London Health Unit and bring the animal if you are bitten, so it can be assessed for rabies and other diseases.
Brown said she gets about one or two calls a week about animals that are either sick, hurt, or abandoned, and most of them are about situations in urban areas of London. She said those areas are dangerous for wild animals for many reasons, such as car crashes, potential poisoning, and getting trapped in an attic. More information can be found on the Ontario Wildlife Rescue website.