Help! I've found an injured or orphaned animal! What do I do?

Step 1

From a safe distance, take a photo of the animal in distress. This will allow us to deduce important information such as species, age, and cause of distress. It is very important to remain with the animal once you have taken the photos. This will ensure the animal does not wander off or have any more harm come to it.

Step 2

Call our wildlife hotline at (516) 674-0982. We will collect important information from you, gather details about the situation, and instruct you to send us the photos you have taken. 

Step 3

If it is safe to do so, we will instruct you on the proper procedure to contain the animal. Follow the steps below to safely and quickly contain an injured or orphaned animal. 

1) Find a container with a lid that you can put air holes in. For small animals such as songbirds and small mammals, a shoebox is perfect. For larger animals like gulls, and waterfowl a large cardboard delivery box or plastic Rubbermaid tub (with air holes) work well. 

2) Use a towel or sheet to cover the animal and gently place it in the container. Gently drape the towel over the animal, covering the eyes but leaving the mouth exposed for breathing, pick it up with two hands, and place it in the container, and close the lid.

3) Keep the animal in a dark and quiet place until you are instructed to transport the animal or a volunteer arrives to pick it up. A closet, bathroom, or garage are all good places to keep the animal. Be very sure the lid is secure so the animal cannot escape.

Step 4

If you are not instructed to contain the animal yourself, remain with the animal until one of our experienced rescuers arrives. The volunteer will contain the animal and transport it to our Hospital for expert care. 

Can I follow up and find out what happened to the animal you rescued?

Yes! Every patient admitted to our hospital is assigned a unique case number. We will provide you with the case number so you can follow up on its progress. Please allow one week before emailing us for a status update.

What happens if it is after hours?

If you have found an injured or orphaned animal and it is after our operating hours follow steps 1 and 2 and email us at We check this email throughout the night and will instruct you on how to safely contain the animal overnight and bring it to us in the morning. If it is an emergency, we can advise you on certain veterinary centers that will triage the animal until it can be transferred to our care.

194-A Bayville Road Locust Valley, NY 11560

(516) 674-0982

Volunteers for Wildlife, Inc. is a tax exempt 501(c)3 not-for-profit charitable organization. Copies of our annual audited financial statements as well as annual IRS 990 and NY State CHAR500 reports can be accessed on the NYS Attorney General's Charity website

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