How to help injured wildlife

1 September 2023

Wildlife is ever present in the New Forest; however, it can be challenging when we encounter an injured animal, especially if you want to help but don' t know how.

Injured animals will likely be in a state of heightened stress or shock. Although our intentions are usually the best, and we want to help, the animal will usually see you as a threat or even a predator. The teeth, tails or even talons are just some of the ways that wildlife causes harm to you. One of the main rules of dealing with any nature is to ensure your safety first and ensure you seek advice before handling any animal.

Depending on the time of year, there are various times when parents have had their young and leave them in a safe space to protect them from potential predators. In these instances, always check to see if a parent is around. Fawn, leverets (baby hares) and fledglings are three of the most common types of young that could encounter that have been left alone. Touching an animal could cause them to be abandoned by their parents.

One of the best ways for an injured animal to recover is to keep it in a cool, quiet, dark place. This could include a padded box without water. Rehabilitation centres will be able to provide wildlife with the necessary fluids.

The most common types of injuries to wildlife are usually from pet bites, such as other animals, e.g., cats and dogs or being hit by cars. In these cases, they must receive the relevant help, for example, antibiotics to counteract bites. If left untreated, these can be fatal.

A high-sided cardboard box, a pet carrier and a few towels are always good items to carry in your car if you encounter injured wildlife.

Always contact a wildlife rescue centre or a local vet for advice on the best ways to help. This will be the best way to give the animal its best chance at survival.