Phokhổng lồ by James Hammond on UnsplashAs a wildlife rehabilitator & conservation educator, the mantra lớn “let nature take its course” comes up quite often regarding animals in various predicaments. On the surface, that is all fine và good. I would just like to caution folks about misapplying this platitude.

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Noninterference is an excellent policy if correctly applied lớn natural interactions. I instruct callers on a daily basis lớn refrain from intervening in animal’s lives. I understvà people’s desire khổng lồ help, but without the proper experience, we often vị more harm than good.

On the other hand, I have sầu often seen people advising someone lớn leave an animal to languish when assistance was very much warranted. There is a difference between natural interactions và the problems that we humans cause, and it should play a major role in our decision-making.

I can’t impart years of experience in a short story, but let me give sầu you some examples of when khổng lồ act và when to lớn let wildlife vì its thing.



Most of the bird calls we get are about fledglings. They appear helpless (and kind of are), so people often think they need to be rescued. PLEASE DO NOT BIRDNAPhường. THESE YOUNGSTERS!

Fledgling birds appear helpless, so people commonly try to “rescue” them. This is not helping, it is bird-napping.

For better or worse, that youngster’s best chance is with its parents. Its parents are nearby, keeping an eye on it và bringing it food. At this age, a fledgling is too young khổng lồ fkết thúc for itself but old enough not khổng lồ trust people. Even if you were lớn bring it lớn a trained rehabber, the chances are stacked against it.



Eastern Hog-nosed Snake eating a toad, pholớn by Daniel Thompson

If you see a snake eating a toad, a wild bird, or eggs, it would be highly egotistical to intervene.

There is definitely no reason to interfere, as these are natural interactions. The ecosystem is an incredibly complex web, one greater than we can understvà. It does not play by our rules of fairness, and it is not always pretty. However, these animals have developed a balance alongside each other, & our choosing one species over another is neither warranted nor justifiable.


If you see a fawn alone in the grass, it typically does not need help.

Mother deer typically return to their young around dawn và dusk. It is normal for a fawn khổng lồ be by itself for long periods of time. Just because they are young and xinh đẹp does not mean they need khổng lồ be rescued.

Turtles crossing the road should not be brought somewhere else.

Many people, upon seeing a turtle crossing the road, feel compelled to lớn bring it to somewhere they think is “safer.” It is helpful khổng lồ make sure a turtle gets across the road in the direction it was going, so please vị that. However, many species of turtles (& other animals) are very familiar with their trang chủ range and vì chưng poorly if moved khổng lồ an unfamiliar area. Even if they are in an area with fast cars và the area you are tempted to bring them is good habitat, the wise naturacác mục understands that they are better off left in their homes.

Times When Animals Do Need Help

The above sầu examples are of animals that are just doing what animals vị. While life in the wild is not without risk, that risk is part of a balance that we cannot hope to lớn improve upon. Whether we understand all of those interactions or not, we should accept them. What we should not accept is the danger that we put animals in. We cause a great khuyễn mãi giảm giá of death và suffering khổng lồ animals with our alterations of their environment.

These problems are caused by us & they should be solved by us.

In a perfect world, we would work to lớn reduce wildlife casualties everywhere we can. That is the ultimate hope of this blog- khổng lồ encourage more people lớn value và protect our natural heritage. In my opinion, we should all be doing more to lớn mitigate the damage humans are causing lớn the world. In addition to lớn such conservation efforts, we can và should help out individual animals in need, when appropriate. Here are some examples of when we should take action.

A wild baby box turtle at the author’s shelter after being attacked by someone’s pet. Phokhổng lồ by the author

Domestic animals attacking wildlife is always our fault.

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Dog & mèo attacks are an extremely common reason for animals lớn be brought to rehabilitation centers. The number of people who think that their pets attacking native wildlife is somehow just “nature doing its thing” is staggering & disheartening. I could go on about this, but suffice it to lớn say, any animal injured in such a way deserves all the help it can get.

Please read this story for more information on this topic:

Shouldn’t Cats Be Allowed lớn Hunt?

Are we really being kind by allowing cats to lớn roam freely?


Mississippi Kite with a broken wing from flying inlớn a window. Phokhổng lồ by the author

Animals injured by things we create deserve our help.

Another common reason animals need rescue and attention is because they have sầu been caught in netting, fishing line, and other discarded items (usually plastic waste). Birds flying into windows is another example. If the animal would not have sầu been harmed if it were not for something humans created, assistance is warranted. There is nothing about this that is not our fault, & ignoring an animal in such digăng tay is not “nature taking its course.”

Pond Slider after a shell repair. Phokhổng lồ by the author

Road-injured animals deserve help.

Hopefully, all of us would want lớn get an animal somewhere for treatment if it had been hit by a car (or tractor, boat prop, or other machinery). If we injure something, that is not just “nature happening.” Our bisecting habitat with pavement & then racing across the landscape at 60 MPH is not “natural” & animals are not biologically programmed to lớn cope with these challenges.

As a rehabilitator, I should point out that some animals injured by vehicles may still be alive, even if it doesn’t look like it at first glance. Turtles, for example, can live on in pain for quite some time after suffering tremendous injuries. Please bring an injured turtle somewhere for help, even if only for humane euthanasia.

Another surprise to many people is that marsupials, such as the Virginia Opossum, may have sầu babies in a maternal pouch. These babies may still be alive sầu, even if the mother is deceased. Some naturalists carry exam gloves in their cars khổng lồ kiểm tra for babies in such situations.

Baby opossums rescued from a road-injured mother. Photo lớn by the author

Animals that have sầu ingested manmade items deserve sầu our assistance.

Sometimes, we may witness this happening, in which case it should be an easy decision to lớn get them help. Other times, the only sign we see might be that the animal looks thin or emaciated. If in doubt, seek the advice of a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

An amphiumas salamander which ingested a fish hook.A Few More Examples…Released or escaped pets should be recaptured, if possible, và brought khổng lồ an appropriate facility.Animals trapped in situations that they would not have sầu encountered if not for us, such as wells, swimming pools, buckets, glue traps, etc.Predators that have been poisoned from eating poisoned prey.Wildlife that has consumed poisonous chemicals (e.g., antifreeze) that we left accessible lớn them.

It is important to lớn be aware that there may be specific wildlife laws where you live sầu that govern what can be done with wildlife. Some protected species may not be interfered with under any circumstances except by certain licensed people. Check with your wildlife authority to confirm your responsibilities.

If you need lớn locate a wildlife rehabilitator, you can tìm kiếm the rehabber database at Animal Help Now.

Animal Help Now, through AHNow.org & không lấy phí iPhone and Android apps, leverages digital technologies khổng lồ immediately…

Burmese Pybé nhỏ, an invasive sầu species in the Floridomain authority Everglades. Photo by Susan Jewell, USFWS

I should mention one tricky middle ground. Nonnative (invasive) species are ones that we have introduced khổng lồ the environment. Animals that don’t belong here (hogs, house mice, Norwegian rats, domestic cats, & many others) wreak havoc on the ecosystem. “Saving” these animals and releasing them may seem like a kindness to lớn that individual animal, but it is never advisable from an ecological standpoint. Naturally, this means we must educate ourselves about topics lượt thích this in order to lớn make sound decisions.

The author repairing a road-injured box turtle. Phokhổng lồ by Joe ArmstrongThe Lesson Here

If interactions truly are natural, even if we may not lượt thích what is going on, the wise naturadanh mục understands that nature is not always pretty and refrains from interrupting animals going about their normal business.

If an animal is in digăng tay because of something humans did, we can and should try to alleviate their suffering. Leaving an injured turtle, snake, bird, or another animal lớn die is not being a champion to wildlife in this scenario, và healing one baông chồng up is not interfering with the natural balance. Trying to lớn rectify the damage that we humans cause is not wanton interference- it is the least we can vì chưng khổng lồ mitigate our impact on the natural world.

Doing what we can khổng lồ make up for the trouble we cause is a small measure to restore balance, and you shouldn’t take any flak for doing so.