HOW TO HELP

Animal Q&A

When out enjoying our surroundings, on a rare occasion one might encounter wildlife a little closer than expected. We must remember we are exploring their habitat and as a guest of nature, we should treat it with respect.

At the WEP, if you encounter a wild animal, we teach the STOP method. This enables you to remain calm yet take the proper action. Read below for different situation you might encounter, and what the WEP teaches about each situation.

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If I come upon a wild animal during a walk or a hike, is it okay to get closer and take pictures?

WEP teaches that wild animals are just that; wild. While television and movies personify animals to make them human-like, they need to be respected for their animal instincts, which are geared to protection and provision. Always use good judgment. It is never a good idea to get any closer, and never take a photo up close of a wild animal. If the camera sound or flash called attention to you, you could end up in a terrible predicament. Our recommendation is this: Use the “STOP” method.

Slowly back up.

Tell an adult (if you are a child) or call a friend or family member to let them know where you are.

Observe the animal. Don’t take your eyes off of it to make sure you are out of harms’ way.

Phone the appropriate rescue service to let them know that animal has been spotted.

I think it would be really cool to have unusual pets, so how can I go about keeping wildlife as pets?

WEP teaches respect for wildlife and all living things, and an important part of that is allowing wildlife to remain wild and lead normal, species-appropriate lives. WEP does not recommend nor endorse attempting to keep any wildlife as pets. Remember, our wildlife ambassador Trouper the Blind Raccoon is NOT a pet — he is a federally licensed and regularly vaccinated. He is also licensed is for making educational presentations. Trouper is docile only because he is brain damaged, so he lacks normal animal instincts and reactions that other wildlife would have, such as biting and clawing. If left alone, Trouper would not be able to naturally protect and provide for himself – the primal instincts that animals need to survive in the wild.

What should I do if I find an injured animal?

In “TROUPER – The True Adventures of a Blind Raccoon: The Beginning,” author Kyle Miller teaches children that, if they see injured wildlife, they should “STOP,” which stands for Slowly back up, Tell an adult, Observe the animal, and Phone the appropriate rescue service.

But how do you find the nearest wildlife hospital or veterinarian to phone in the midst of a crisis?

Animal Help Now is a website and a mobile phone app that immediately connects people involved with animal emergencies with the closest, most appropriate resources and services. Go to www.ahnow.org for more information.

Should I try to take care of an injured animal myself?

Wildlife rehabilitation is the treatment and care of injured, orphaned, or sick wild animals so that they can be released back to the wild. In the United States, rehabilitation permits, requirements, and procedures for all animals other than birds vary from state to state. Birds require both a state and federal license. It is against the law to rehabilitate animals without proper licensing.

Handling wildlife can be dangerous to you as well as to the animal. Do not attempt to rehabilitate wildlife yourself. Again, wildlife rehabilitators have been trained to administer the highly specialized care that wild animals require and could die without.

Check the app Animal Help Now to contact a wildlife rehabilitator or hospital. Animal Help Now is a website and a mobile phone app that immediately connects people involved with animal emergencies with the closest, most appropriate resources and services. Go to www.ahnow.org for more information.

I think I found an orphaned baby animal, so shouldn’t I try to rescue it?

Do not assume that a baby animal you find alone is orphaned. The parent animal has to forage for food and is likely doing so nearby. In some species, parents may leave the babies alone for up to 14 hours, so call a wildlife resource agency for specific advice if you have found a baby animal. They will investigate and act accordingly as they are trained to.

Check the app Animal Help Now to contact a wildlife rehabilitator or hospital. Animal Help Now is a website and a mobile phone app that immediately connects people involved with animal emergencies with the closest, most appropriate resources and services. Go to www.ahnow.org for more information.

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