How to Help Wildlife When They've Lost Their Habitat
Southern California wildlife battle for their habitats everyday as we expand and build more and more. When they lose the little land they have by wildfires, it can be devastating for animals, especially the less mobile ones, like rabbits. More adaptable animals, like coyotes and deer, that are able to escape the fires may be left disoriented, stressed, hungry and thirsty; leaving them vulnerable to secondary incidents (i.e. predators and road strikes).
If you see an animal looking disoriented or in a place that isn’t normal for it be, please take a moment to stop and call for help. PETA has a National hotline: 757.622.PETA (7382), prompt 0, during regular business hours or their National pager line after hours at 757.434.6285, that will assist you and send someone to help.
Tree of Compassion, an organization out of Australia offers up this advice:
“...take note of where you saw the animal, what species it was (if you can identify it) and what it’s behavior was like. For example, take note of what you saw – was it limping, was one of it’s eyes closed, was it bleeding, was it holding it’s head on the side, did it look burnt. Anything you observe will be useful. Make sure you mark the spot where you saw the animal, eg, with an empty can tied to the fence or tree. You may think at the time you can remember where you saw it but when it comes to someone else finding the location, this is not usually that easy.”
If you’re able to safely, and in a stress-free manner (for the animal), capture it (please never chase an animal), make sure to transport it in a secure box or carrier. Most vets and emergency vets have a Good Samaritan clause, meaning you can bring an injured animal in and they won’t charge to help. You can easily check the map on your smartphone to find a local emergency vet.
At the very least, leaving large bowls of water on the ground, and even food, is extremely helpful. And let’s not forget the birds. If you’ve ever hiked around Los Angeles, you know how amazing it is to see hawks gliding and hear woodpeckers at work, so hanging bird baths is also a great way to help!
If you don’t live close to a burn area, but would like to help by donating or taking in displaced animals, the Los Angels Daily News recommends these organizations :
The Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation is accepting donations through its Noah’s Legacy Fund by donating through the organization’s website at lacountyanimals.org.
The Humane Society of Ventura County is accepting donations of supplies and food to help care for the more than 100 animals which have been displaced by the various fires. They are looking for alfalfa hay, Timothy hay, cat chow, rabbit food, flashlights, headlamps, lanterns, water troughs, bottled water, fruit, snacks, hoses and power generators which can be dropped off at the shelter at 402 Bryant St. in Ojai. They are also accepting water and food for volunteers at the shelter.
Monetary donations can be made by visiting the animal welfare organization’s website at humanesocietyvc.nationbuilder.com.
Citizens for a Humane Los Angeles are looking for temporary homes for displaced animals as the shelters begin to fill up. They can be contacted at 323-244-8020.
Stay safe out there!