Sick, Injured or Orphaned Wildlife

To keep you and Georgia wildlife safe, enjoy watching wildlife from a safe distance. Touching wildlife can result in injury to yourself and possibly the need to euthanize the animal for rabies testing. In most cases, the best thing you can do for wildlife is to leave it alone. It is illegal to care for sick, injured, or orphaned wildlife in Georgia unless you have a permit from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Read the following information on what to do if you see a sick, injured, or orphaned animal.


Sick or Diseased WildlifeMangy fox on doormat

Like humans, wildlife are susceptible to illness and disease. Many of these diseases can be shared between wildlife, domestic animals, and humans. Learn about different disease, how to identify them, and how you can help. If you need assistance with sick wildlife, call 1-800-366-2661.


Injured Wildlife

Wild animals are extremely resilient. It is not uncommon for them to heal from injuries. Rehabilitating wildlife is difficult and can only be done by people permitted through the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. In most cases, it is best to leave them alone and not assist. Injured wildlife may be more prone to defend themselves. You should not attempt to handle injured wildlife. If you need assistance with injured wildlife, call 1-800-366-2661.


Orphaned Wildlife

Fawn in grass
Photo: Steve Kyle

“If you care, leave them there.” It's common to encounter young wild animals on their own, especially in spring and summer. The adult has either left to forage or moved off to create a distraction in order to protect their young. In most cases, it’s best to leave the animal alone. Wildlife has a much better chance at survival when they are not disturbed by humans.

  • Young birds
  • Orphaned fawns: Fawns are hidden by the does for the first few weeks of their lives to avoid predators. It is not uncommon to see a fawn by itself. Does will leave fawns in protected areas, like a fenced yard, to help protect them from predators. Never pick up a fawn. A fawn’s main defense is its lack of scent. You should only call a permitted wildlife rehabilitator when:
    • You are certain the doe is dead.
    • The doe does not return after 24 hours.

If you see young animals you think may be abandoned, call 1-800-366-2661 to find out the best way to assist them.

Wildlife Rehabilitators