What to do if you find a wild animal
Please be aware that it is illegal to keep or care for wildlife without a license. A wild animal needs assistance if:
- It is not moving and not responding to external stimuli
- It is bleeding or injured
- An adult animal can be easily approached and captured
- It is experiencing difficulty in breathing, or if it is experiencing seizures
- It appears to be dehydrated or its eyes look deep, and the coat is dull.
If you find and injured animal or an orphan baby
- It is not recommended that the general public handle wild animals, unless the animal does not represent a risk to the public safety, or its critical condition demands immediate assistance. You should only handle wildlife if an environmental officer/CETAS has instructed you to do it. If there are circumstances when you need to handle a wild animal, you must protect yourself from being injured and/or contracting diseases by wearing gloves and other protective equipment.
- Never pet or play with a wild animal, since such actions can lead to stress or shock. The majority of wild species look relaxed and rested if under shock. People and other animals alike should maintain a safe distance. If a wild animal experiences contact with humans, its chances for rehabilitation and release are reduced.
- Do not offer food or water to the animals (the only exception being hummingbirds, which should receive sweetened water every 30 minutes to prevent dehydration). Only a full examination by a qualified wildlife veterinarian can determine the animal true condition. Under certain circumstances food and water can be lethal. Similarly to humans, hospitalized animals require gradual hydration and especially formulated nutrition.
- Never attempt to treat an injured animal. Keeping it quiet is the best treatment until it can be transported to the environmental office’s headquarters/CETAS. Never attempt to rehabilitate a wild animal on your own. Each individual requires special diet and treatment. Even if the animal seems to be well, improper care can lead to devastating consequences; they may take months to manifest, thus delaying or preventing rehabilitation. In order to achieve better chances of survival, wild animals tend to delay signs of weakness and disease, thus when they appear it is often too late for the animals. Remember that wildlife may transmit diseases to humans and pets.
- The most important thing to do when you find a baby animal is to make sure that it is indeed an orphan. In many occasions, well-intentioned people wrongfully remove healthy baby animals because they do not know their habits.
- For instance, it is not uncommon for people to misunderstand the habits of birds, which lead them to remove the young ones when they are learning to fly and still under parental care.
- Mammals may appear lost and lonely while exploring or awaiting for parental return. You must always monitor the situation, and please call CETAS prior to taking any action.
- If an infant is truly an orphan (the parents are known to be dead, or have not returned after a long period of observation), or if it is injured, it requires special care. In such occasions, please call the environmental office/CETAS as soon as possible (48)32694716.
You should only transport a wild animal if you have been authorized by CETAS and IBAMA. In that case, please follow these steps to guarantee that the animal is comfortable and ensure that any stress is minimized.
- Do not hold the animal in your arms during the transport.
- Place the animal in a secure box, and transport the box by safely placing it on the floor or car seats.
- Keep the vehicle warm and make sure that the environment is quiet, thus avoiding music and engaging in conversations. Maintain the windows shut for your own safety.