What Should You Do If You Find A Wild Animal In Need?

Slide1By María Pía Martín, DVM, Wildlife Veterinarian, Kids Saving The Rainforest

Kids Saving The Rainforest has a Wildlife Rescue Center. It works in coordination with the Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Technology (MINAET) to look after the wellbeing of native wild animals. Thanks to Good Samaritans we are able to rescue sick, injured or orphan animals, rehabilitate them and then release them back to the wild.

In Costa Rica, many people with the best intentions find animals in need and want to help. The best option is to take the animal to an experienced veterinarian with permission of MINAET.

The first step is to determine if the animal is really in need. Is this animal unable to feed, to hide, or to get away? Is it bleeding? Has it been electrocuted? Has it been run-over by a car? Is it vomiting or does it have diarrhea?
If you answer yes any of these questions then the animal probably is in need of help.

Is it an orphan?
It’s important to do a correct identification of the species and then look for information about their behavior.
For example, some parents leave their baby by itself while they are looking for food, like deer. In other cases, the lonely animal is just looking for a mate, like male monkeys leave their troop for some time until they find a female from another troop (genetic diversity) to procreate. However, in other species, moms can leave their baby behind if they feels it is sick (like sloths), so sufficient time should always be given to allow the mom to come back.
Please call us if you see a baby by itself, we will gladly help you search for the best option.

What do I do if I find a sick or injured animal?
When you are going to grab it be very careful, remember that they are wild animals and are extremely frightened of people.  They may either run away (injured) or attack you. You can use a thick towel or leather gloves to protect yourself. Do not touch them with your bare hands; animals have diseases that may be transmitted to people. I recommend using latex gloves always and wash thoroughly with soap afterwards.
Place it in a box appropriate for its size with a dry and clean towel and keep it in a dark and calm place. Please call us to assist you in the next step.

Should I feed it? Should I give it any medication?
Please don’t. You may offer clean fresh water in a dish. Remember to keep it calm, away from dogs, cats, and other people while you find professional help.

The Wildlife Rescue Center’s number is 2777-2948, English and Spanish spoken.

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