Chirping fledglings, scampering baby rabbits, and other spring babies are making their debut at this time of year. Usually, Mom and Dad are nearby keeping a watchful eye out, but, as PETA's emergency-pager team can attest, sometimes wildlife babies need a helping hand.
One such baby in need was a tiny opossum who became stuck in a swimming pool in Pembroke Pines, Florida. The pool's owner was afraid to approach the baby because he was hissing and struggling, but our responder explained that he was exhausted and scared and told the caller to put on gloves, cover him with a towel, and lift him to safety. The caller plucked up her courage and jumped into the swimming pool, rescuing the opossum just as he became trapped in the skimmer's suction. Thanks to the caller's quick and compassionate response, the opossum was OK and darted off to safety.
In Tennessee, a caller did the right thing by calling PETA when she spotted an apparently orphaned duckling in her yard. But despite being advised to take the duckling to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator where he could receive proper care, she balked and said she planned to keep the duck as a pet. Since this is inhumane and illegal, we contacted the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, and a conservation officer took immediate custody of the baby bird. The duckling was transferred to a wildlife rehabilitation facility that specializes in water birds.
If you discover a wildlife baby who appears to be hurt, contact a local animal control agency or wildlife rehabilitator. Stay with the animal until help arrives or he or she can be transported, but don't try to care for the animal yourself. Wildlife babies need specialized care that is best left to the experts.
Written by Michelle Sherrow