Far, far too often, wildlife rehabilitators get calls about baby animals that the finders have had for weeks. Often, it’s urgent— “Something’s wrong,” or, “It cant walk right,” or, “I think it may be dying.” These animals ultimately die due to improper care by people who thought that a Google search could enable them to successfully rehabilitate wildlife.
One of the most common reasons people give for raising wild animals without training is, “I thought it would be a good educational opportunity for my kids.” Seeing an animal die a very slow, painful death from improper care is certainly not what these parents had in mind.
I’m a parent myself. I do understand how attached children can get to wildlife and how hard it is to say no to, “Can I keep him?”
But as parents, we all have a duty to teach our kids proper lessons about wildlife. Use an orphaned or injured wild animal as a way to teach your children respect for nature, and to emphasize the importance of giving them a good chance at life in the wild where they belong. Teach your children that a living creature is not a plaything or an experiment or an after-school hobby. Teach your children that loving something sometimes means saying goodbye.
Please call a rehabilitator if you find a baby animal in need of help.