Wildlife Rescue Centre
The LSMU Wildlife Rescue Centre is the only centre in the country where from the beginning of 2024, around the clock, 7 days a week, assistance is provided to wild animals taken from unsuitable environment, confiscated or requiring care from all over Lithuania.
ACTIVITIES OF THE CENTRE
- Ensures the keeping, care, rehabilitation and adaptation of wild animals that are injured, in an unsuitable environment or taken from unsuitable housing conditions.
- Takes care of the release of wild animals that have been cured and are able to live independently into their natural habitats or transfer them to other persons who have suitable conditions to keep them.
The modern complex of the LSMU Wildlife Rescue Centre (LGGC) buildings consists of veterinary treatment facility with wild animal reception, inspection facilities, operating room, laboratory, animal treatment-rehabilitation, public education, staff facilities, quarantine facility, indoor and outdoor animal housing.
The veterinary assistance provided by the LSMU LGGC to wild animals, their care, rehabilitation will improve the survival of wild animals, increase their likelihood of release and will provide greater possibilities for transfer to the appropriate conditions.
Important things to know
Many people upon seeing an injured or seriously ill animal wish to help it, regardless of whether it is a wild animal or a pet. However, wild animals are a part of nature, where unique rules apply. Life in nature sometimes is merciless and brutal, but by attempting to interfere in it we may worsen the current situation.
Diseases and death are a natural part of life, however, in nature nothing ends with the death of a single animal. A weak or ill animal becomes the prey for the predator and its food, which allows it to feed itself and its young. By saving a single weakened animal we can cause harm to another, healthy and fit member of the same ecosystem.
Therefore, the purpose of saving a wild animal must be to alleviate the damage of human activity, thus reducing our own impact to nature and not increasing it.
Wild animals hide symptoms of pain and illness, this helps them protect themselves from predators in their natural environment. Because of this it is often hard to notice when they need assistance, however all animals give certain signs, which aid in understanding when we should be concerned about their condition:
- Obvious wounds or bleeding are visible.
- If a small animal (a mammal or a bird) where caught by a dog or a cat there is always a chance the wound will be infected, even if the wounds appear small.
- The animal does not move when you approach them. It is normal for healthy adult birds to rest on the ground, but they should still flee or fly away if approached. Other animals usually hide from humans and run away as soon as they approach. If the animal does not run away when you approach, there is a good chance that it is sick or injured.
- The bird’s feathers appear fluffy. Birds fluff out during the cold season of the year, preserving their body heat in this way. However, if the bird has fluffed out its feathers when it is warm then it is a sign that the bird is feeling poorly.
- The animal’s balance and coordination are disturbed, it limps and walks abnormally.
- Laboured, unusually deep or frequent breathing is often a sign of pain. It is worth noting that breathing of animals increases at high air temperature as well.
- The animal is surrounded by flies, larvae can be seen on the body, many ticks or other parasites.
- The animal is standing hunched over – this is one of the main signs of pain in the abdominal area.
As summer approaches, as every year, more and more people find baby birds on the ground. Most of the time, people want to pick up the baby bird, hold it and try to help it in this way, but they do not appreciate the fact that not all baby birds raised in a shelter / care centre can successfully return to the wild. Growing up alone, without parents or a flock, it is much more difficult for baby birds to learn the necessary skills and adapt to life in the wild. Therefore, after finding a baby bird, you must first decide whether your help is really necessary. Here’s how to determine if you need to take action.
Firstly, you need to establish whether it is a hatchling which had fallen out of the nest or an almost independent young bird – a fledgling.
Most of the baby birds found by humans are almost independent by then. These are birds that have left the nest and have not yet learned to fly, who are still protected by their parents and do not need our help. The almost independent young can stand on their feet, jump or run, and can firmly grasp a finger or a twig with their toes. These birds usually have sparse feathers all over their bodies, can fly short distances, but cannot fly well.
When such birds leave the nest for the first time, they usually do not return there, so even if you see the nest, you should not put the bird back – it will immediately jump out again. When such baby bird is found, it usually does not need help, it is already learning to live independently. In this case, it is possible to move the baby bird to a nearby low branch or bush and ensure that our own pets cannot reach the fledgling. Sometimes the parents of the baby bird are not seen, because they could be taking care of four or five young at a time, scattered in different directions. But don’t worry, they’ll come back to take care of the one you found, and usually do so as soon as the person leaves. You can watch from a distance to make sure the parents return to care for the young, but you should remember that birds are clever and good at hiding. It is possible that while you are watching the fledgling, its parents are watching you, waiting for you to leave so it is safe for them to return to their baby.
If the baby bird is not yet fully covered with feathers, there are visible areas of bare skin, it is covered with fluff, it cannot stand firmly on its feet, let alone walk, jump and cannot fly at all, such a baby needs help. If you find such a hatchling on the ground, it almost certainly has a nest nearby. If you can find the nest (it may be well hidden), return the bird to it as soon as possible. Don’t worry – parents of birds do not recognize their young by smell, this is just an old myth and there is no need to be afraid of it. They will not leave their young if touched by humans. If the nest has been destroyed, you can make a new, artificial nest and place it in the place of the former nest or next to it. Put the chick back in and watch to see if the parents return.
If the parents of the baby bird do not return to the nest, the baby cannot be returned to the previous nest, it is injured, or for other reasons you are absolutely certain that the baby bird needs help, contact the Wildlife Care Centre (LGGC). A sick, injured or very young bird may require emergency care, and LGGC vets are on call 24/7 and are available to consult over the phone or take in injured animals and their injured young.