How to Help an Injured Animal?
By Jackie Kent, FOW Trail Ambassador
A few years ago, I got a call (from FOW’s own Sarah Marley) about a Canada goose outside of Valley Green Inn that had fishing line wrapped so tightly around its leg that it could no longer straighten it. The goose could still fly, but it was limping and clearly needed help, as fishing line entanglements often cause cuts and abrasions that can become infected. Many park-goers called FOW wanting to know what to do in the face of a situation like this, which is certainly an unusual one!
Well what DO you do when you find an injured or orphaned animal in your backyard or in a public place, such as a park? First of all, the safety of you and the animal is the first priority, so always exercise caution before approaching or handling any wildlife. It is also important to assess whether or not an animal is indeed in need of help. While you may be looking at a true orphan or an animal suffering from a serious injury that requires assistance, more times than not, animals DO NOT need our help, or can be helped without removing them from the wild!
This is where a call to your local wildlife rehabilitator comes in handy– they can help you determine if the animal is injured and how to contain it safely, and also if the animal is simply exhibiting natural behavior and should be left alone. Rehabilitators answer thousands of calls each year, and each one is a unique opportunity to educate the public about wild animals.
Philadelphia Metro Wildlife Center is a local wildlife rehabilitation facility located temporarily in King of Prussia, PA while they search for land for a permanent home. They serve Philadelphia, Montgomery, Delaware, and parts of Chester County. The licensed rehabilitators at PMWC are happy to take your call and help you with the animal you have found, and they will instruct you on how to safely bring it to the center for care if necessary. If an animal is brought to PMWC, the team of rehabilitators, veterinarians, and dedicated volunteers will ensure that it receives the proper medical, nutritional, and supportive care so that it has the best chance to be successfully re-released into the wild!
While myself and about a dozen others were never able to catch that goose outside the Inn (and I split my pants while waist-deep in the good-ol Wiss trying!), it was good to know how many citizens were concerned and willing to do the right thing. Now, when you spot wildlife that might need help, or if you see/hear a friend or neighbor ask about a wildlife issue on social media, you know who you can call!
All questions concerning wildlife issues can be answered by calling their main line 267-416-WILD (9453).