We know this is weird. When you call 911 about an injured person, they send paramedics. When you call animal control about an injured stray dog, they send an officer. When you call a wildlife rehabilitator about an injured animal, they… ask you to capture it and bring it to them. Yes, seriously!
The reason ultimately comes down to funding, or rather, a lack thereof. When you call a rehabilitator, you’re likely picturing a huge, zoo-like rescue with on-site surgical suites, dozens of paid workers, and a fleet marked vehicles they can send out to save any animal in need. Only two or three rehabilitation facilities in the entire country even come close to that. Most— including For Fox Sake— are run by one or two extremely busy, extremely tired people operating out of facilities built, literally, in our backyards.
Out of the hundreds of wildlife rehabilitation facilities in the country, only about 5% have any paid staff members at all, and most of those staff members are directors responsible for overseeing animal care, and are unable to leave their patients. During baby season, when we may be bottle-feeding dozens of animals and have many more in critical condition, leaving them unattended to drive across the state simply isn’t an option.
While a few rehabilitation facilities are lucky enough to have volunteers who can answer last-minute requests for transportation help, no rehabilitation facility we’re aware of that has paid staff members are able to set traps, checking traps every few hours, or transporting wild animals from Point A to Point B.
When an animal needs help, most rehabilitators simply have no choice but to enlist the help of the public. And yes, unfortunately, that might mean that we ask you to put on a pair of gardening gloves and pick up the baby skunk and put it in your car. Or to put the baby bird on your seatwarmer on the way here. Or to put the snake in a pillow case, and yes, we do understand you might be creeped out by snakes.
We know it’s nuts. But we don’t have a lot of other options, and we depend on everyday people like you to be the heroes the animals need until they make it to us safely. Please cooperate with your local rehabilitators to transport orphaned and injured animals. We’re all doing our best, but each of us has only two hands and 24 hours in each day!