Don’t try to care for an injured bird at home, call MARS instead

Rescuing and then caring for an injured wild bird or animal often ends badly, a call to MARS could save a life.

  • Oct. 21, 2016 8:00 p.m.

MARS is asking that people turn injured wild animals over to them instead of trying to care for it themselves.

Rescuing and then caring for an injured wild bird or animal often ends badly, a call to MARS could save a life.

The staff and volunteers and trained to deal with injured birds and animals and they have experience to back up those skills.

“Well-meaning people find an injured bird or animal and try to do the right thing by caring for it,” said Warren Warttig, MARS president and biologist. “Their actions, however well meaning, are risky. Animals may carry disease or bacteria toxic to humans and too much human interaction may exclude the possibility of a return to the wild.”

The animals sometimes have the potential to injure a human as well, and then everybody loses.

“A bald eagle’s talons can exert pressures up to 400 pounds per square inch, significantly more than an adult German Shepard’s bite,” Warttig said.

Feeding the animal the wrong food, or treating an injury incorrectly can lead to more damage, kill the animal, or prevent it from ever returning to the wild.

“Too often, people treat injured wildlife more like a pet,” Warttig said.

For example, a family brought a bird with a broken wing into MARS after caring for it at home.

Delaying treatment meant the wing could no longer be repaired and the bird could not be rehabilitated or released to the wild.

“People often rescue orphaned baby raccoons, not knowing these small animals may carry a disease or parasite in their mouths that can be transmitted to humans and other pets,” said Reg Westcott, MARS Supervisor of Wildlife Care. “People encountering injured or orphaned wildlife should call MARS immediately for advice.”

MARS, a licensed and regulated facility, has provided rescues, rehabilitation, recovery and release for injured and orphaned wildlife in central and northern Vancouver Island since 1995.

At the moment they are building a larger facility in the Comox Valley to better care of the wildlife.

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