When concerned citizens encounter injured or orphaned wildlife they often are not aware there are permitted wildlife rehabilitation centres that can help. In Alberta the only facilities that are legally permitted to give long term care to injured or orphaned wildlife are wildlife rehabilitation centres. Not all wildlife rehabilitation centres are permitted to handle every species but all centres work together and will see that the patient gets to the appropriate facility.
Veterinary clinics, if they choose, may offer emergency care at no charge to the public. Unless they have a wildlife rehabilitation permit, they may not offer long-term care.
Just as with humans, the first few hours after the injury are the most critical and the sooner the patient receives treatment the better chance there is for success. Something as simple as a warm, dark place and the administration of fluids can mean the difference between life and death.
* Carriers for Wildlife
It is extremely important to crate the patient carefully.
- A dark, well-padded, small container is the best. Never use wire caging.
- Bats can squeeze out of very small spaces. Put them first in a sock or cloth drawstring bag and tie shut before putting them in a box. NEVER HANDLE A BAT WITHOUT WEARING GLOVES. ALTHOUGH UNCOMMON IN ALBERTA, BATS CAN CARRY RABIES.
- Chewing mammals such as muskrats can chew out of cardboard very quickly so always put them in a non-chewable container.
- Patients in large boxes can thrash around and damage themselves even more than they already are, so keeping the box to a size slightly larger than the animal will be the safest.
- Holes do not need to be put in cardboard boxes as cardboard is not airtight and a wild animal will see the hole as an escape route and attempt to get out. This may result in an escape or further damage to the animal.
- Bedding, such as dry straw, paper towel, a blanket, or towel is advised. Cardboard is slippery and an already injured patient can do more damage if they slip around during transport.