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Orphaned & Injured Animals

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The Department of Natural Resources does not provide services for orphaned or injured wildlife. If necessary, you can reach out to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator or allow nature to take its course. Permitted wildlife rehabilitators make the final decision on their ability to provide assistance. The goal of wildlife rehabilitation is to release wildlife back into the wild.

For more information, contact the Division of Fish & Wildlife at 317-232-4200 or dfw@dnr.IN.gov. If you need a wild animal control permit, please contact the DNR Permit Coordinator at 317-232-4102 or find permit information here.

Adult animals rarely abandon their young. What may seem like an abandoned animal is normal care for most animals. The animal may not benefit from your help.

  • The adult may be out of sight gathering food.
  • Removing young from their nests can disrupt the reproductive cycle of the animal.
  • Wildlife carry diseases and parasites that can be transmitted to humans and pets.
  • Human scent can alert predators to the presence of young animals.
  • Truly orphaned and injured wildlife can be given to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator for care.

Before acting, ask:

  • Has sufficient time passed without an adult animal nearby? The adult animal will not return with a person nearby.
  • Does the animal really need help? Most young animals that seem abandoned do NOT need help.
  • Did I witness the adult animal get killed?
  • Does the animal have obvious signs of disease or injury?
  • Will I help or harm this animal?

The best care and chance of survival is always with the young animal’s mother.

It is unlawful for an individual to possess a wild animal without a proper permit. Good intentions can still harm wildlife. If an animal does need assistance, it is important that a properly licensed professional is contacted. Professionals have training, facilities, and resources to properly assist wildlife and ensure the animal is capable of fending for itself when released.

Most animals found in the wild are regulated by the DNR. If an animal is injured, you may call a permitted rehabilitator for assistance. Never compromise personal safety to help wildlife. You can find a list of permitted rehabilitators on our website. Wild animal rehabilitation permits are issued to qualified individuals who take in sick, injured, or orphaned wild animals with the intent of releasing them back into the wild.

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