Letter: Good intentions not enough when it comes to at-risk wild animals

By on July 2, 2009

OK, one too many calls about a person who found a wild animal and decided that it was a good idea to give that wild animal to a farmer—just because.

While I understand that some farmers will know how to raise cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens, or whatever their specialty, that doesn’t make them the appropriate place for an orphaned or injured wild animal. In addition, the only people who can legally care for injured or orphaned wild animals are wildlife rehabilitators who hold state and, for birds, federal licenses.

These licenses are not easy to come by. Wildlife has special needs that pet owners and farmers are probably not aware of. The last orphaned fawn I received came from a good-intentioned farmer whose relative thought they were the right place for this orphan. Ten days later, the fawn isn’t doing so well and, oh, did I mention that scrape on the top of its head?

That “scrape” turned out to be multiple, deep puncture wounds filled with maggots and pus. Coyotes probably attacked it when it was weak and vulnerable. A licensed rehabber would not have missed those life-threatening wounds. The fate of this particular fawn is still in doubt. Good intentions are not enough.

This is not an isolated incident. This happens dozens of times each year. Please do these animals a favor and find a licensed rehabber in your area.

Kathy Stelford
Oaken Acres Wildlife Center, Sycamore