Many well-intentioned people needlessly remove juvenile animals from a healthy, natural life in the wild.
They think the animal is sick, injured, or orphaned when that often is not the case.
Where an animal is in need of help, it requires specialized care to recover and return to the wild.
You cannot keep wildlife in captivity without approval from the Ministry of Natural Resources.
Determining if wildlife is orphaned
It is normal for some species to leave their offspring temporarily alone, especially during the day.
For example, deer spend much of the day away from their well-camouflaged offspring to minimize the chance of predators finding them.
To determine if young wildlife is truly orphaned, check the animal periodically for 24-48 hours to see if it is still around.
Keep your distance, and keep cats and dogs away from the area where the young animal is (the adult will not return if it is noisy or if predators or people are close by).
Contact your local MNR office before trying to handle wildlife.
Signs of injury or illness
•Blood, wounds, or swelling on the body;
•Body covered in fleas;
•Unusual or uneven loss of fur or feathers;
•Difficult or raspy breathing or sneezing;
•A dangling leg or wing; or
•Closed eyes; head tucked under wing
Contact your local MNR office for help assessing the situation and advice on what action to take.
If you must handle the animal, to minimize risk of injury to yourself and to the animal, wear protective clothing and equipment, such as leather gloves, to avoid bites or scratches, and wash hands well after handling the animal.
To report dead animals, birds, or bats, contact the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre (www.ccwhc.ca) at 1-866-673-4781.
If you suspect there is a public health risk from a sick wild animal, such as rabies, or you or your pet had contact with a suspected rabid animal, contact your local public health unit immediately.
Rabies is fatal for humans and animals if not treated.
Symptoms of rabies and several other diseases in animals can include tremors, aggressive behaviour, partial paralysis, convulsions, and loss of fear of humans.
For more information on wildlife, visit ontario.ca/wildlife