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"“I found an injured/orphaned animal! What do I do now?”

One of the MOST frequently asked questions that we get in the spring is “I found an injured or abandoned animal - can  Tanglewood take it?”

The short answer: No, but I can give you the name and number of someone who can.

The long answer comes in parts: 1. Who can take an injured/abandoned animal? 2. Why can’t Tanglewood take it? 3. Is that animal really injured or abandoned at all?

1. Who can take an injured/abandoned animal? Wildlife rehabilitators. Here are two good contacts for our region. Please keep in mind that they are busy with round-the-clock animal care - they may not answer the phone when you call, but if you leave them a message, they will call you back once they are finished caring for the animals!

  • Shelly Schlueter (Montour Falls) can take birds, amphibians, reptiles, and small mammals only (no deer or fawns).  Call 607-535-6089.
  • Lori Wheeler (Wellsburg/Chemung County) can take mammals. Call 607-215-2124.
  • Marsha Zgola (Burdett) can take birds. Call 607-546-7367.
  • Susan Andrews (Addison) can take small mammals. Call 607-684-8985.
  • Gina Hill (Greenwood) can take small and large mammals, gamebirds. Call 607-382-9213.
  • Jane George (Trumansburg) can take small mammals. Call 607-592-9080.
  • Tama Janowitz (Burdett) can take small mammals. Call 347-957-0823.
  • Richard Updyke (Canisteo) can take mammals and gamebirds. Call 607-590-0651.7-1547
  • Raihana Zaman (Newfield) can take mammals that are rabies vectors. Call 607-277-1547.
  • Cynthia Lange (Spencer) can take mammals that are rabies vectors. Call 607-255-7226. 

You can also search for rehabbers:

  • in NY? Search this DEC website, sorting by your county and the kind of animal you found
  • on the website for the New York State Wildlife Rehabilitation Council, sorting by the region of NY you’re in 
  • in PA? The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) licenses wildlife rehabilitators and can provide you with contact information for anywhere in the state. The PGC Northeast Office can be reached at 570-675-1143 and 570-675-1144.

2. Why can’t Tanglewood take the animal? We do not have the training to care for injured animals. Plain and simple. Becoming a wildlife rehabber takes years of training and a license through the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a wildlife rehabilitator, meeting rehabbers, and volunteering with rehabbers, the National Association of Wildlife Rehabilitators has some good resources.

Tanglewood provides a permanent home for over 40 animals. Many of our animals were placed with us through wildlife rehabilitators after they were assessed as “non-releasable.” Hank the red-tailed hawk and Sophie the great horned owl, for example, sustained wing injuries severe enough that although the rehabbers were able to get them stable - no pain - Hank and Sophie will never be able to fly well enough to survive in the wild. Another factor that can lead to an animal being deemed non-releasable is imprinting or familiarization with humans. Wild animals should be cautious and stay away from humans. If a young animal loses that fear, then it is not safe to put them back in the wild, when they may approach a human for food or not know to hide from a gun or car.

Ideally, rehabbers can bring the animals back to full health (including a healthy, natural fear of humans and cars) and release them into the wild. If the animals are non-releasable, that is where Tanglewood comes in. We are the safe, caring and enriched home for non-releasable wild animals. We have the appropriate permits to keep and care for these animals. They are different permits and licenses than the ones rehabilitators have.

3. Is that animal really injured or abandoned at all? Often, when we see an animal - especially a baby animal - out and about, we feel an immediate emotional response and want to help it however we can. However, that gut reaction may cause more harm to the baby than help. Baby birds are notorious for being “rescued” when they didn’t need a rescue at all. Fawns and rabbits, too.

If you care, leave them there is a good rule of thumb. But if you see blood, or broken limbs, then of course that is an appropriate time to call a rehabber.

Baby bird out of nest quick guide

4. What if you find some animals that don’t need help, but YOU need help getting them out of the way? We call those nuisance wildlife and they have a separate set of humans to help them. 

  • Michelle Buchanan. The Critter Chicks. Woodchuck trapping, skunk trapping, bats, raccoon trapping, squirrel trapping, chipmunk trapping, rat trapping, possum trapping, animal waste clean-up, odor removal, sanitizing, exclusion services. Call 607-973-0202. 
  • Jack Sincock. Nuisance Wildlife Control, ElmiraRemoval & relocation of squirrels, skunks, beavers, bats, raccoons, woodchucks, opossums, fox, coyotes and snakes. Call 607-733-4945. 

  • Polly Smith - rattlesnakes only. Call 607-731-2972.
  • John Slechta - honeybees only. Call 607-215-1891.
  • Dan Fimlaid - honeybees only. Call 607-346-6751.
  • Peter Maybaum - honeybees only. Call 607-562-8181.

Thank you for caring for wildlife!

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