What to do if you find an injured wild animal?



1) Avoid disturbing it as much as possible, minimising noise, handling time and contact with people.


2) Contact the appropriate authorities to collect the animal:

  • SEPNA - Serviço de Protecção da Natureza e do Ambiente (GNR) - 213 217 291/2;
  • SOS Environment Line - online service (SEPNA/GNR) - 808 200 520;
  • Nearest Park/Nature Reserve (contacts) or the ICNF central services (213 507 900 | icnf@icnf.pt).


If you have any questions, you may contact the nearest Wild Animal Recovery Centre (contacts). Remember that Rescue Centres do not have the means or the responsibility for collecting animals, this is the responsibility of the authorities.


3) If you do not feel comfortable handling the animal, contact SEPNA/ICNF and keep an eye on it as much as possible to ensure its safety.


4) If you feel safe enough to handle it, approach cautiously and capture it using a towel or blanket to cover it so as to deprive it of its sight (reduce visual stimuli), so that it cannot hurt you while catching it and so that it cannot hurt you while struggling (be particularly careful with its beak, teeth and claws).


5) Place it in a perforated cardboard box, preferably a little bigger than the animal in question. You can also use a pet carrier covered with a cloth (but a cardboard box is preferable). If you do not have a box, wrap the towel you used around the animal to limit its movement to protect yourself and the animal. If you have thick gloves - leather or gardening gloves - use them.


6) Until the rescue, keep the animal in a quiet, dark and warm place. Avoid excessive contact. If you do not know how to do it, do not give food, water, medication or first-aid.


7) Gather as much information as possible about the place and conditions in which you found it (e.g. near a road, water line, game reserve, electricity pole or line...).


8) You should not keep the animal in your possession longer than strictly necessary and never keep a wild animal with the intention of retrieving it. An animal that is kept too long in captivity will lose the ability to survive in its natural habitat, becoming unable to fly, hunt and defend itself properly.


9) During the breeding season you may find young birds on the ground and think they are injured. Often these chicks have left the nest on the first attempt of flight or walk, being well and still being fed by the parents. In these cases, try to check if the parents are in the area, if the area is safe (away from roads or possible predators, including domestic animals, for example) or if the chick is really injured (bloody or very weak). If in doubt, collect the chick to hand over to the authorities, record well the place where it was found as it may be possible to return it to the nest once it has been assessed and treated. To help you decide what to do when a chick is found, consult the following diagram, but be aware that there are some species of animals for which this diagram does not apply, for example, swifts, diurnal and nocturnal birds of prey. In case of doubt you can always contact the nearest rescue centre.

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