Do not take small animals with you | Weekly magazine for agriculture and rural life

Goodwill is not always well-meaning: Every spring, many birds and squirrels lose their offspring because young animals are accidentally taken from their habitat and taken to wildlife sanctuaries or veterinary clinics. “When a small bird sits alone on the ground, the situation is clear to many people: they think the animal has been abandoned by its parents and are happy to collect it. But this is where they create a problem,” explains Dr. Florian Brandes, Head of the Wildlife and Species Conservation Station in Saxenhagen, Lower Saxony.

Because these little birds are by no means abandoned. The mother animals are close, but they are hidden due to the presence of humans. During this “nascent stage”, young birds are not yet fully able to fly, but are already out of their nests – almost completely feathered. During this time, birds are already at increased risk of being hunted by predators, but it is part of the animals’ normal behavior.

Explore the area

The same goes for little squirrels. At some point, they began to explore their surroundings as little animals. Sometimes a small squirrel falls out of the nest (cobel). But then human help is not immediately required. Because mother animals are able to return their young to the roost. “As a general rule, young birds and young squirrels should be left where they are found if they are not harmed.

Because even with good care by humans, their chances of survival are much worse than if they were raised by their parents,” says Professor Dr. Michael Bees, Head of the Pet, Reptile and Bird Clinic at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hannover. It is recommended to help a human only when Injury to animals or – after a long and quiet observation period – when it is certain that the young animals have been abandoned by their parents.

Take away even forbidden

According to the Federal Nature Conservation Act (BNatSchG), protected animals, such as birds, hedgehogs or squirrels, are prohibited from being taken out of the wild. Wild animals may be temporarily removed from their habitat if they are sick or injured.

From now on, the person who took the animal with him is responsible for the animal – including financially. There is no government-funded system for caring for injured wildlife. Once recovered, the animals must be returned to the wild immediately. Acceptance of strictly protected species, which includes, for example, the white stork or the European hamster, should be immediately reported to the Lower Nature Conservation Authority.

Prevent animal suffering

Of the nearly 4,000 animals received by the Wildlife and Species Conservation Station in Sachsenhagen last year, 3,000 were wild, 70% of which were small animals. “Few of them were injured, most of them are only presumed orphans,” says Dr. Florian Brandeis, station chief. “In terms of staff and space, we get to our limits, particularly during the animals’ young period.” The aim of the joint appeal with the Hannover Veterinary University, the Hanover Animal Welfare Society and the state capital of Hanover is that young animals are not taken from the wild unnecessarily. “This prevents a lot of animal suffering.”

Tips on the correct behavior and handling of small wild animals discovered

  • As a human, always keep enough distance from small wild animals so that the mother animals dare to turn back. If you suspect an animal has been infected and needs help, watch it for several hours until you are really sure.
  • If the animals are not noticeably sick, leave them alone. Please only take visibly sick and injured animals with you and bring them to a veterinary clinic or nursing home. Since a young animal’s chances of survival decrease if it is taken from the wild, do not take it with you and trust nature – even if in individual cases this means that a young animal becomes prey for other animals.
  • If possible, place animals that are sitting on the street on a ledge, on fences, or on trees.
  • If you think an animal is infected, contact a veterinary practice or nursing home for advice. If neither is reached, call the local fire brigade at 112. In many cities and counties, fire departments have set up an animal rescue unit whose members are trained in the proper handling and transportation of animals.
  • The removed little bird can be returned. However, removal means great stress for the animal and represents a danger. Unnecessarily removing a wild animal from its habitat should always be avoided.
  • Not every injured animal can be saved. In the veterinary clinic or nursery, experts objectively assess the animals’ chances of survival. If there is not enough opportunity to be able to return the animal to nature, it is essentially best if the animal is euthanized.
  • Wild animals are not members of the family. Respect nature and allow wild animals freedom according to their needs. Typos on humans often mean lifelong suffering for animals.
  • You can seek help from various sources for the animals you have taken responsibility for. However, the responsibility remains with you until the possible delivery.

Leave a Comment