What should I do if I see injured wildlife?

You can actually increase young wildlife's chances of survival by following one simple rule when finding them: Leave them alone! It may be difficult to do, but this is the real act of kindness. In nearly all cases, young wildlife does not need to be "saved". Resist the temptation to help them. Only when they are found injured or with their dead mother is there a reason to intervene, and the state's wildlife laws are very specific about what you may do.

The Law

State law protects nearly all wild birds and mammals. Wildlife may not be legally taken from the wild or kept in captivity. Never consider wildlife as possible pets; it is both illegal and unwise. Wild animals belong in the wild.

In some instances the Division of Fish and Wildlife may grant permission for the rehabilitation of a distressed or injured wild animal provided that:

  1. The Division of Fish and Wildlife law enforcement office in your area, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Emergency Hotline, or the Wildlife Control Unit is notified of the situation within 12 hours. Call 908-735-8793.
  2. The Division's Wildlife Control Unit prescribes a course of action that is in the best interest of the animal. Normally the problem will be referred to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator who has the required experience, permits and facilities to properly care for injured and distressed wildlife.

You can view the list of state-licensed wildlife rehabilitators on the web. Please know that for safety reasons not all injured wildlife (i.e. potentially dangerous species) can be rehabilitated. These animals are also listed on the website.

For additional information contact the DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife, Wildlife Control Unit, Clinton Wildlife Management Area at:
141 Van Syckels Road
Hampton, NJ 08827
Phone: 908-735-8793

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