It often happens that you come across what looks like an abandoned baby bird or animal. It may just be that the mother is away looking for food, or the bird is at a stage where it is out the nest but still being fed by the parents. Remember, wild parents are the best thing for the wild baby, so if there is a chance that the parents will come back, please consider this before diving into action to “rescue” a wild animal.
The main thing to remember when you come across an injured or abandoned wild animal, is that stress kills. You need to work very quietly with the animal without any children or domestic animals interfering with you catching the animal.
As with humans, the first 24 hours of rescue are really the most important for the survival of the animal, so the sooner you can get it to a rehabilitation centre, the better.
The best thing to do, if you come across an abandoned nest or baby, is not to act at all for a while, unless it is an obvious situation like a young baby fallen out the nest and you can pick the baby up gently and put it back. Otherwise, keep your distance and watch. Perhaps the parents are away catching food and will return. Perhaps the baby has just fledged (the natural time for the baby to leave the nest, but will still be cared for by its parents). If after 2 hours, the parents have not returned, it is likely that they are not coming back, and then a decision can be made to either remove the babies or let nature take its course.
If you take the chick away, take a cardboard box, puncture holes around the top and line it with a dry towel. Wrap a hotwater bottle in another towel and place it on the side of the box. Use tissue paper to create a little hollow next to the hotwater bottle and place the chick in the hollowed out area. Make sure that the chick can move away from the hotwater bottle if it gets too hot. Cover the box with another dry towel. Do not attempt to give the chick any water or food. Take it to a rehabilitation centre as soon as you can.
Injured animal or bird on the side of the road
In this situation, it is clear that the animal needs help. If you have a towel available, put the towel or jersey over the bird/animal and pick it up. Take it immediately to the nearest vet or rehabilitation centre. If you are too scared to pick it up in case it bites you, make sure that you report it to your vet, animal welfare organization or nearest rehabilitation centre. Do not attempt to give the animal water or food, this may cause complications if the animal has to be sedated for treatment
Penguin on the beach
This applies to areas where penguin colonies are not present, eg Knyna, Plettenberg Bay, Tsitsikamma. Wrap a towel around the penguin. Pick it up being careful not to get pecked. Put it in a box lined with a dry towel and bring it to the rehabilitation centre asap or drop it off at Cape Nature Offices. Do not try to feed it anything or give it water. Do not get it wet. If it is shivering, wrap a hot water bottle in a towel and put it in the box next to the penguin.
Abandoned baby wild animals (eg caracal cubs)
Please do not attempt to raise wild animals yourself. Wild animals such as Caracals, do not make good pets. When they grow up, they become unpredictable and dangerous. Besides this, you are taking them out of the wild, and if you don’t raise them correctly, they may never have the opportunity of being able to be returned to the wild.
Pick up the animal in a towel or jersey and place it in a box lined with a towel. Close the lid or make sure the animal cannot escape. Bring it to the centre as soon as possible. Please do not give it milk, water or any food. This may cause the animal to inhale the water into its lungs, or give it diarrhea which if it is already weak, may kill it. Do the right thing and bring it to a rehabilitation centre so that it can be returned to the wild.
Dealing with a beached Seal
Most seals seen on land are resting and should be left alone to do just that but people get up close, take pictures and yell back and forth which doesn't help. If you are worried about the seal and it doesnt appear to have any injuries. Just keep an eye on it for a couple 3 or 4 days and if they havnt moves then you are welcom to call us. If you see people harassing the seal then please call us ir Cape Nature.