Photos by Anne Muller
Wildlife Watch runs a "hotline" for wildlife that leads
to the saving of scores of wild animals and helps to resolve human-animal
conflicts. During "baby season" (late March through the summer),
we get hundreds of calls from several New York counties, and we try
to match callers with wildlife rehabilitators (rehabbers) who are nearby
and specialize in the area of need. Thats not always possible,
this article is designed to help a lay person help wild,
orphaned animals until a rehabber or wildlife vet can take over.
of animal is on a separate page so it may be easily removed and faxed.
The first tenet should be, "Do no harm," but that doesnt
mean to do nothing when there are simple remedies.
Many wildlife rehabilitators enhance traditional formulas and techniques
to keep patients from dying. These formulas are the combined recipes
of Ingrid Ilkiw and Marilyn Leybra. I visited Ingrid in June
as she was preparing food for a variety of orphaned wild animals, and
followed her through her feeding routine. The recipes here are simplified
so that most people will be able to easily obtain the ingredients and
supplies. This is provided as an aid in short-term care when a rehabber
or wildlife veterinarian is not immediately available.
First Things First
Birds and mammals respond well to heat. Use a covered
hot water bottle, covered heat pad, or a plastic soda bottle filled
with hot water. Wrap it in a thick, preferably fuzzy, sock. Put the
heat source near the body for warmth and comfort. It's important
to bring up the body temperature before starting to feed.
You will need to keep on hand:
paper towels, tissues, a fuzzy sock, cages of various sizes, plastic
syringes or eyedroppers, nipples including a cattak (long, thin nipple)
to be put at the end of a plastic syringe, baby bottles, Exact (from
a pet store), lactate (from a pharmacy), Nutrical (pet store), goat
milk (health food store); baby food: beef, spinach, applesauce, baby
cereal, baby rice, puppy chow and ripe bananas.
Most of these supplies can be kept a long time, so get them ready.
Obviously, bananas will have to be bought fresh. If you buy goat
milk in powdered form, you wont have to worry about keeping it