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Helpless animals

Development plan of helping helpless animals

The development plan of helping helpless animals has been confirmed with the directive of 9 February 2015 of the Director General of the Environmental Board.

The purpose of helping helpless animals is to implement ex situ species protection, the aim of which is to treat (also includes follow-up treatment) an individual of the local animal species in a helpless state such that the animal can be released to its natural habitat where it can live as the species is used to without further interference by people.

Wild animals and birds must not be brought home, their natural habitat is in the nature. Photo: Mati Martinson

Rehabilitation of animals/birds who are injured or in a helpless state

It is best for birds and wild animals to be in a natural environment and without an important reason, one cannot interfere with their lives.

If you see a single animal/bird, then remember rule number one: a healthy animal or a single young animal/nestling does not need people to interfere and it must be left in peace.

In most cases, a helpless state does not mean that an animal or a bird is alone - even if the animal/bird is a young one. The animal/bird may not be touched or disturbed in any way (look at, pet, take into your arms). Many young animals/nestlings who seem abandoned have parents who feed and protect them. In addition, many nestlings (thrush, starling, owl) are at an age where it is time to leave the nest – they may not fly, but hide between the bushes and in grass and search for food themselves, in addition to the food brought by the parents, and live their usual bird lives.

An abandoned nestling is inert, its eyes are half-open or closed, it feels cold upon touch, it is skinny and the plumage is clearly underdeveloped.

A nestling is not abandoned if it is lively and tries to escape, its eyes are liquid and completely open, it makes loud noise and defecates when caught, it feels warm upon touch and its stomach is chubby due to feeding often.

How can everyone help?

Interfering with the lives of wild animals must at any case be well thought through. Before you start helping the animal, you have to think of whether the interference harms the animal even more.

If a wild animal is in a clearly dangerous place (for example, a nestling in the middle of the road), find a way to take it to the nearest safe place. 

If a nestling has fallen out of the nest, but it is uninjured and the nest is still there, then place it back into the nest carefully and keep your hand or an article of clothing in front of the nest hole for a few minutes. In the dark, the nestlings adapt and do not begin to climb out of the nest right away. If there are several nests of the same species near the nestling that has fallen out of the nest, then it is not important whether the nestling is placed back to its original nest, because, generally, the parents also adopt an alien nestling. If possible, place the nestling into such a nest where there are least individuals. It is also possible to restore the fallen nest with little effort. You can make a suitable box from wood and place it near the former nest or to its former place. The materials from the former nest must also be put to the box. If you lack wood materials and/or building possibilities, you can use other means such as a basket, a bowl, a pot, etc. to restore the nest. Upon choosing the material, please make sure that the new nest case is not degradable due to moisture; thus, a cardboard box, etc. is not suitable.

When you see a wild animal who is not moving, make sure that any objects (haywire, plastic bottle, etc.) do not hinder its moving. If an animal is stuck, help to free it. When doing so, you must certainly think of your own safety. The animals may claw and bite, the birds may use their beaks or wings to harm you, in the case of birds of prey, you must certainly keep away from the claws. It would be good if you would wear gloves when helping the animals/birds and keep general hygiene in mind after it (wash hands).

If you see a wild animal or bird in a clearly helpless state that needs interference, then please call hotline 1313, which forwards the message to the Environmental Board, if necessary.

Animals killed on the roads

  • Big game killed on highways (wolf, bear, lynx, wild boar, red deer, moose or roe deer) – please call hotline 1313.
  • Other animals killed on the highways (state roads) – please call road information number 1510.
  • Animals killed on local roads and streets (cities, towns, small towns) – please contact respective local government (owner of the road).

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