ALWAYS try to reunite a baby animal with its mother first. Human care is a last resort. Please try following the below steps before emailing or texting us. Messages will be replied to as soon as one of us is able to do so. Our rehabbers are not currently taking any animals, but we can give further resources and advice. We cannot pick up/rescue any animals at this time. If you find an animal in serious distress, please take it to your borough’s ACC location.
Please be patient while waiting for a reply! We are a tiny group of all volunteers, doing this in addition to our paid day jobs.
+ How do I find a wildlife rehabilitator near NYC?
To find a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in your area of NY, check the State Dept. of Environmental Conservation Wildlife Rehabilitator list. For your convenience, we have also compiled these names into an easy spreadsheet, found here. NYC residents will often need to be prepared to take the animal to Long Island or upstate, as local rehabbers have very limited space. More info on these resources below.
+ Can you come pick up this animal?
Unfortunately we do not have resources to pick up any wildlife. There is not any organization that will reliably pick up common animals in NYC such as pigeons, sparrows, squirrels, or opossums that we are aware of. It is up to you as a good samaritan to get the animal to the help it needs. If the animal is visibly injured or sick, you can try filling out this form from 311.
+ What should I do with the animal while waiting to hear back from a rehabber?
Keep/get all babies very warm. Do not try to feed anything if they are nursing mammals or hatchlings, as you can cause a great deal of harm if you don't know what you are doing (both in technique and diet). Most animals can survive quite a while without food, so focus on warmth and a calm environment while waiting to hear from a pro. Do not give any animal cow's milk - unless you found a calf!
Injured animals should also be kept warm, and in a covered quiet place (either a box or crate with old clothing/towels). Stress can be lethal to wildlife so do not handle them or even look at them more than necessary, particularly if they are a prey species. A dish of water is fine, but hold off on food until you are advised of their proper diet. There are many misconceptions about what different species can/should eat.
+ Local Wildlife Centers in the NYC area
Volunteers For Wildlife in Locust Valley - 516-674-0982
Long Island Wildlife and Animal Rescue in Massapequa - 516-797-8387
Wildlife In Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation in Massapequa - via Facebook
Marine Nature Study Area in Oceanside - 516-766-1580
Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center in Hampton Bays - 631-728-9453
STAR in Middle Island - 631-736-8207 this is the local center we know of that will take orphaned fawns (deer)
Green Chimneys in Brewster - 845-279-2995
Wildlife in Crisis in Weston - 203-544-9913
Wild Baby Rescue in Blairstown - 908-362-9453
The Raptor Trust in Millington - 908-647-2353
Links to wildlife rehabilitators here.
Links to wildlife centers here.
For an injured, nuisance or orphaned young mammal, call the NJ Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife at 908-735-8793.
For snakes, turtles, frogs, birds and other animals; call the NJ Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife, Endangered Species and Nongame Program at 908-735-8975.
If you have nuisance Canadian geese or bats, please call the Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Animal Damage Control at 908-735-5654.
+ Help with Squirrels
If you found a sick or badly injured squirrel, please fill out this online form so that the parks department can investigate. If you decide to take it to a veterinarian yourself, look for vets that treat exotic animals or go to an Animal Care Center for medical care. After it is triaged by a veterinarian, we can likely take it for rehabilitation. Be careful of bites, as squirrels have very strong jaws and sharp teeth. If you are bitten, seek medical attention immediately.
If you found a baby squirrel, please do everything you can to find the mother. Raising babies in captivity should always be a last resort, and in most cases a squirrel mother will be desperate to find her lost baby. To determine if a reunite is possible, first check:
- Is the baby injured?
- Is the baby bleeding?
- Is it cold to the touch? (Baby squirrels should feel warm.)
- Is there a dead parent nearby?
- Are there flies or maggots on the baby or in any of its orifices?
- If yes to any of these, contact us or another wildlife rehabilitator.
If no, try to reunite the baby with its mother.
- If you have found a single baby check the area for any siblings.
- Place the baby in a small box surrounded by soft material (fleece or similar), with instant hand warmers or a tightly sealed hot water bottle.
- Place the box near where the baby was found, preferably mounted as high as possible off the ground (wire or string can be used to affix the box to a tree).
- Leave the area and observe from a distance- a mother squirrel won't return if people are nearby. The mother squirrel should return to retrieve her baby within a few hours. If the nest was destroyed, the mother will build a new one before returning for her babies.
- Before giving up, play the baby squirrel calls at the bottom of this page which will help the mother find the baby. There are many more of these you can find on YouTube as well. They work extremely well!
If the mother squirrel still does not return, retrieve the baby, keep it in a warm place, and contact a wildlife rehabilitator. Do not try to feed or give water to the baby squirrel. Feeding a baby squirrel without the proper supplies and training can be fatal to the baby. Baby squirrels require a very specific diet and care protocol (most of the DIY recipes you can find online are extremely inappropriate for their proper development), as well as the fact that it is illegal to possess wildlife in NY without a license.
+ Help with Birds
Please contact Wild Bird Fund for advice at 646-306-2862. Leave a message and they will get back to you asap. If the bird is not fully feathered, look up and see if there is a nest you can return the bird to. Birds do not reject their young if a human has touched them- this is a myth. Scroll down to the flow chart below for more information about reuniting a baby bird with its mother.
You can also contact NYC Audubon at 212-691-7483.
Do not try to feed a nestling bird yourself, as you could accidentally injure or kill it. Keep the bird very warm until you can get it to a wildlife rehabilitator. It is illegal to possess wildlife in NY without a license. (This does not apply to pigeons.)
+ Help with Opossums
If you found a baby opossum, do not try to care for it or feed it on your own. Baby opossums are marsupials, and latch onto their mother’s nipple in the pouch for several months. A rehabber must tube-feed babies this age- they cannot eat anything on their own. It is illegal to possess wildlife in NY without a license.
If you see a sick or injured opossum, please fill out this online form so that the parks department can investigate. If you decide to take it to a veterinarian yourself, look for vets that treat exotic animals or go to an Animal Care Center for medical care. After it is triaged by a veterinarian, we can likely take it for rehabilitation. If you are bitten, seek medical attention immediately.
If you find a dead opossum, check if it is female! If so, feel inside the pouch for babies. We can often rehabilitate them if we receive them quickly. Keep them very warm and get to a rehabilitator or wildlife center asap.
+ Help with Raccoons, Skunks, and Bats
Do NOT touch it! If a raccoon, skunk, or bat scratches or bites a human, it must be killed and tested for rabies. Don’t put the animal in this situation! If you have been bitten or scratched by a raccoon, skunk, or bat, seek medical attention immediately. Rabies is fatal. Raccoons can also carry raccoon roundworm, which is also very dangerous to humans and can cause blindness, liver, and brain damage.
If you found an injured or sick raccoon, skunk, or bat, please call 311 and ask for Urban Park Rangers. Also fill out this online form so that the parks department can investigate. If you are concerned for the animal’s or public safety, also call an Animal Care Center to report the situation.
Unfortunately there are no licensed wildlife rehabilitators in NYC at this time who can help with raccoons, skunks, or bats. This is because they are considered Rabies Vector Species (RVS) in NY. However, there are some licensed rehabbers in surrounding counties outside the city! You can find them by going to the DEC public list of rehabbers, then select "bats, raccoons, or skunks", then begin searching county by county. Alternatively, use our speadsheet compiled in the menu above called "Local Rehabbers".
+ Help with Coyote, Deer, or other large animals
Stay away from the animal. Do not touch or try to feed it. Please call 311 and ask for Urban Park Rangers. Also fill out this online form so that the parks department can investigate. If you are concerned for the animal’s or public safety, call 911 as well.
For coyote questions, please contact Gotham Coyote Project We have many coyotes quietly living in NYC, so just seeing one is NOT a cause for alarm. Feel lucky to have spotted one and leave it alone!
For deer, please contact STAR in Middle Island - 631-736-8207 Please be aware that a fawn (baby deer) laying curled up quietly alone is NOT in trouble. Even if they are in an odd place, such as an alley, doorway, or other "human space". Deer regularly grow up in suburban/urban areas and do just fine. Fawns spend the majority of their time alone, with mom keeping a careful eye on them from afar. Fawns do not need help unless they are up walking around and crying.
+ Help with Turtles
Please contact The NY Turtle and Tortoise Society for advice at email@example.com, or try the State Dept. of Environmental Conservation Wildlife Rehabilitator list. Do not release any non-native turtles in NY state, as this has tremendous consequences for native wildlife, even if the turtle can survive in this climate.
Still have questions?
Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or text us at 646 481 6259 (We will TEXT a reply even if you leave a voicemail, so please provide a mobile number. Please include a photo of the animal.)
A rehabber will respond ASAP to either email or text. Please be patient- we are all volunteers with full-time jobs separate from this organization.
Our capacity is currently very limited, especially during spring and autumn baby squirrel season. We apologize if we cannot accept new animals for rehabilitation at the time you call; we hope to one day have a large enough network of rehabbers to accept every animal who needs us.
Flow chart instructions to save and share below:
Baby bird and mammal chart from "Healers of the Wild: Rehabilitating Injured and Orphaned Wildlife" by Shannon K. Jacobs / Johnson Books. Rabbit chart courtesy of the Wildlife Center of Virginia. Opossum chart courtesy of Flint Creek Wildlife.
UUWR is a small non-profit organization dedicated to making the world a better place for humans and wildlife alike. We work with our community to spread awareness of the incredible wildlife population within New York City, and we strive to facilitate healthy relationships between New Yorkers and the fascinating creatures that are increasingly a part of urban life. With enough help from supporters like you we can one day reach our goal of opening NYC's first mammal-focused wildlife rehabilitation center. Please check out our "Get Involved" link above to see how you can help!