Injured, sick or dead

You have found an injured, sick or dead wild animal

What to do with an injured or sick wild animal

In some cases, letting nature take its course may be the best option. The death of wildlife is an integral part of healthy ecosystems, and the survival of some animals depends on the death of other animals. Predators can eat those sick, injured or dead animals, as well as use them to feed their own young and allow them to survive.

In the vicinity of an injured or sick animal, the following safety precautions should be followed:

  • Keep pets away at all times to minimize stress for the wild animal and prevent any disease transmission;
  • Avoid staying close to the animal, as this could cause further stress;
  • Never attempt to intervene with an animal that could bite or injure you, such as deer, herons or raccoons.

When an injured animal is found, it is necessary to contact SOS Poaching prior to any intervention as some animals must be declared. Whether or not the species must be declared, we recommend that you do not take any risks to your safety or the safety of others.

Make sure the wild animal is truly injured or sick

Injured or dead wildlife may carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans. Therefore, it is important to avoid approaching or handling them.

Most sick and injured animals observed by citizens are adult animals. The following signs are most common in sick or injured animals:

  • wound, bleeding or obvious injury;
  • difficult or noisy breathing;
  • discharge from the eyes or nostrils, glued eyelids;
  • difficulty to move, get up or hold its head straight or up;
  • lethargy or marked dejection;
  • dirty fur or feathers around the anus;
  • missing patches of fur or feathers;
  • birds unable to fly, with a drooping wing.

What to do with a dead animal

Generally speaking, dead wildlife carcasses can be placed in a bag and disposed of in household garbage. However, here are some hygiene rules:

  • It is recommended that you never touch a wildlife carcass with your bare hands. Wear disposable gloves and pick up the carcass by enfolding a plastic bag around it;
  • Wash your hands immediately after picking up the carcass, or apply an alcohol-based hand hygiene product.

If equipment has been in contact with the carcass, it is recommended to disinfect it thoroughly with a chlorinated solution (1 part bleach for 9 parts water). If equipment cannot be effectively disinfected, it is best to dispose of it by throwing it in the garbage.

If a carcass is too large to be placed in a bag and disposed of in the household garbage, you can check with your municipality to find out what to do or what services are available.

You or your pet have been in contact with an injured, sick or dead wild animal

If you have been bitten, scratched or in contact with the saliva of a wild animal, whether it is apparently healthy, sick, injured or dead, you must:

  • clean the wound with soap and water for at least 10 minutes, even if it seems minor;
  • promptly contact Info-Santé 811 to ensure proper follow-up.

If your pet has been bitten or in contact with a wild animal, seek prompt medical attention from a veterinarian. The veterinarian will be able to assess the risk of transmission of certain diseases that may be present in wildlife (e.g., rabies, distemper, leptospirosis, etc.) and advise you on what to do with your animal.

Report a sick, injured or dead animal

Which animals should I report?

Some wildlife species must be reported. Refer to the section below to find out when a sick, injured or dead animal should be declared.

Animals that must be declared

Injured or dead animals of certain species must be declared to SOS Poaching and, if required, be delivered to a wildlife protection officer. These animals are:

  • all diurnal or nocturnal birds of prey,
  • black bear,
  • Canada lynx,
  • caribou,
  • cougar,
  • coyote and its hybrids,
  • grey fox,
  • moose,
  • muskox,
  • opossum,
  • polar bear,
  • red lynx,
  • white-tailed deer,
  • wild turkey,
  • wolf and its hybrids,
  • wolverine.

Raccoons, skunks and foxes.

As part of the raccoon rabies enhanced surveillance program, raccoons, skunks and foxes found sick or dead in the Estrie or Montérégie region must be reported to 1-877-346-6763 or through the electronic form.

For more information, refer to the raccoon rabies web page.

IMPORTANT: Rabies is a fatal, incurable disease that can be transmitted to humans by infected animals. When performed quickly after a bite or contact with the saliva of an infected animal, rabies vaccination prevents the disease in humans. However, rabies is fatal in all cases without exception after symptoms develop.

Here is what you need to do if you have been bitten or have come into contact with an animal’s saliva:

  • clean the wound with soap and water for at least 10 minutes, even if it seems minor;
  • promptly contact Info-Santé 811 to ensure proper follow-up.

To learn more, go to the rabies page on Québec.ca

Sick, injured or dead birds

As part of the avian influenza surveillance program in Québec, birds found sick, injured or dead must be reported to 1-877-346-6763. In some cases, specimens may be collected for monitoring purposes.

Species that do not need to be reported

If the animal found injured or sick does not meet any of the criteria in the section above, it is quite possible that the only option is to let nature take its course. Many wildlife species have a short life expectancy in the wild and very rarely die of old age. Common causes of wildlife mortality include predation, motor vehicle accidents, famine, and disease. In all cases, the death of these animals is part of a natural process over which humans often have no control.

Please note that the MFFP does not manage these wild animals unless they pose a real threat to the safety of people. If you suspect such a threat exists, please contact SOS Poaching.