What to do if you find an injured wild animal?

When we find an injured wild animal, the desire to help it can quickly overwhelm us. But it is risky to do things that could hurt him, but especially hurt you. In this article, we also tell you what reflexes to use if you are facing such a situation, while we give you indications of the ecosystem for professionals who are likely to intervene.

What to do if you find an injured wild animal?

If the wild animal is injured after a collision or poaching

The law of 10. July 1976 specifies “that it is the duty of all to ensure the preservation of the natural heritage in which they live”, the achievement of these objectives “in order to ensure the harmonious balance between the urban and rural population” . But the situation is complex because the authorized actions vary depending on the species encountered.

If the animal belongs to one huntable species (pheasant, goose, duck, crow, skate, sparrow, vibe, thrush, blackbird, weasel, rod, fox, deer, wild boar, etc., there are a total of 91 huntable species in France), it is treated as game. A motorist who hits the animal can choose to kill it and take it with them for their own consumption. In this case, however, it is mandatory to inform the Gendarmerie or the National Police about the situation.
If you find an injured animal on the road, contact the Direction Départementale des Territoires. But their opening hours do not always allow you to reach anyone. You can therefore also contact the municipality where the collision took place. The mayor must do what is necessary to maintain public safety. Also the chosen guard will probably have the animal slaughtered. If it weighs less than 40 kg, it will be buried. If the animal weighs more than 40 kg, the elected representative must mobilize a destruction company within a period not exceeding 12 hours.

If the injured animal belongs to one protected species, you must contact a natural heritage police officer (wildlife care center, ONCFS, Gendarmerie or the National Police). If the animal is in a situation that requires rapid intervention, you can exceptionally be allowed to send it to a game rescue center. He is important to benefit from this Agreement, even orally, from the Authorized Services. In the case of protected species, the unauthorized transport of an animal by the competent authorities may in fact constitute an offense punishable by one year’s imprisonment and a fine of EUR 15,000. This is linked to Article L411-1 of environmental legislation, which prohibits the destruction, capture or transport (but also deliberately disturbing and marketing) of protected species. Firefighters can also transport animals to a center if they have had the prior consent of the authorized authorities.

If the injured animal belongs to one non-native species “likely to cause harm” (qualification that replaced “harmful”) at national level, it should be noted that health centers are not entitled to receive them. If such an animal were to be brought to them (nutria, muskrat, raccoon dog, American mink or Canada goose), they would probably perform euthanasia. This is logical given that they have no right to release them, with the risk of incurring large fines or even administrative closure. What to do under these conditions? You need to proceed in the same way as before: the person you come in contact with helps you identify the animal and tells you what to do.

The situation is somewhat different too native species classified as harmful at the ward level because they can obtain prefecture permits to release.

Take some precautions

People who find an injured wild animal are advised not to rush to touch it. When you spot one, it is only recommended to handle it if you have gloves on. It can actually be affected by a zoonosis, a disease whose pathogen, bacteria, viruses or parasites can be transmitted from animals to humans (and vice versa). Fury is a part of it.

What role can a veterinarian play?

A veterinarian is obliged to treat sick or injured animals for which the vital prognosis is committed and provided that they have the necessary competencies to intervene. In the light of what we have stated above, the first step is therefore to recognize the species to which the injured animal belongs in order to make the relevant decisions.

Know that it is considered that a wild animal in the wild is not someone’s property. The care that a veterinarian can provide is therefore free, but the professional is still entitled to receive compensation if the person who discovered the animal offers it.

What is a Game Care Center?

Since 1992, game care centers have been the only ones licensed to house, care for and maintain damaged wildlife. The existence of these structures is intended to ensure that any wild animal collected can be cared for for its reintegration into the natural environment. These are structures whose status differs from zoos or refuges because they are not intended to keep animals indefinitely.

These centers seek the cooperation of a veterinarian. Although they provide emergency first aid and routine treatment of animals, they refrain from performing strictly veterinary operations. They will proceed with killing if the animal health personnel consider that this is the appropriate solution for the situation of the injured animal.

These centers are organized in a network and have a website which provides a list of these care centers by region. If you find an injured wild animal, you can get it too contact information from downtown close to your geographic location on the website of the French Union of Wildlife Conservation Centers (UFCS). Each center can only accept a limited number of species and animals, you can be referred to a more remote center.

What is ONCFS?

While reading this article, you may have encountered the acronym ONCFS. It designates the National Bureau of Hunting and Wildlife, little known in urban areas. It is a public institution established in 1972 that has been operating since 2000 under the double supervision of the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture. It has a service in each department that will be able to advise you on what to do if you find an injured wild animal.

The role of this institution is to gather information to develop wildlife knowledge in French regions. For this, it conducts research and research. This is why ONCFS is able to provide technical support to many institutional partners for the purpose of conserving wildlife. This public institution is also responsible for police hunting and the environment as well as issuing hunting permits.

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