British Wildlife Rehabilitation Council

Registered Charity No. 1157841

What should I do if I find a...?

Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation is a complicated process requiring specialist knowledge, facilities and often veterinary assistance to achieve optimum animal welfare and successful rehabilitation back into the wild.

The BWRC therefore recommends that anyone who finds a wild animal apparently in need of help
CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED REHABILITATOR OR QUALIFIED VETERINARY SURGEON IMMEDIATELY
rather than try to nurse the animal themselves.

Please refer to the list of wildlife rehabilitators linked to the 'Guidance' page of this website.

If you feel that the animal is in immediate danger/requires immediate intervention, the following simple
guidelines may help you whilst you locate and contact your nearest vet/rehabilitator:

THE BWRC'S 3 S’s OF WILDLIFE RESCUE

 

1) ARE YOU SURE?

 PLEASE REMEMBER THAT YOUNG ANIMALS ARE OFTEN BEST LEFT ALONE -
THE PARENT(S) WILL USUALLY RETURN AFTER YOU HAVE GONE.
Of course, this is not always the case, so if in doubt contact a rehabilitator for advice BEFORE you ‘rescue’ the animal. If it disappears in the meantime then it probably didn't need rescuing!
 
2)  SAFETY FIRST!

 DON'T RISK YOUR OWN HEALTH OR SAFETY
(for example encountering road traffic, water, heights or the animal itself!
Even young wild animals will not appreciate your good intentions and may attempt to
defend themselves by biting, clawing, kicking, flapping or defecating on you!)
 
3) MINIMISE STRESS

 a. WARM, DARK & QUIET CONDITIONS: Wild casualties are generally best kept in warm
(but not too warm! Recommended temperatures vary between species), dark and quiet conditions, ideally confined to an appropriately sized box/carrier – again remember that
some animals are quite capable of tearing their way out of a cardboard box.
Boxes, must of course, have air holes to prevent suffocation;

b. NO UNNECESSARY HUMAN CONTACT: Don't look at or handle a wild casualty
unnecessarily – this will cause additional stress and possibly pain; and

c. DON’T TRY TO FEED IT: Wild casualties do NOT need food or drink immediately - this can
(and should) wait until after they have been properly examined and received first aid
treatment (as long as this occurs within 24 hours)
 

IN SUMMARY - REMEMBER THE BWRC'S 3 S’s OF WILDLIFE RESCUE:

1) S is for SURE? - be SURE before you try to rescue an animal –
if in doubt, contact a specialist for advice

2) S is for SAFETY! - your own SAFETY comes first

3) S is for STRESS - minimising STRESS to the animal will maximise its chances
of survival: warm, dark & quiet conditions and minimum human contact.

bwrc tawny chick 1
bwrc gannet
bwrc baby birds