What to do if you come across injured or orphaned animals in Western North Carolina


Photo courtesy of Edith Allen Wildlife Sanctuary

Have you noticed an increase of baby animals roaming about? You’re not imagining that influx of cute critters. Spring is the time when many mountain-dwelling animals — like deer, rabbits, black bears, wolves, coyotes, and red + gray foxes — are born into the world. Coming across an orphaned or injured baby animal isn’t uncommon at this time of year and it’s important to know what to do.

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Photo courtesy of Appalachian Wildlife Refuge

Step one? Identify if the animal actually needs help. While it may seem unusual, it’s totally normal for many wildlife babies to be on their own. Often, the parents are simply foraging for food nearby + plan to return.

However, if upon closer examination the animal is injured (aka, hit by a car, attacked by a pet, fallen from a nest) it is alright to intervene and call a local wildlife rescue organization. In fact, it’s against NC law to hold wildlife for over 24 hours without a state license.

Because licensed rehabilitators have the knowledge + skill set to best treat animals and return them to the wild, be sure to contact them. Here are some WNC-based wildlife rehabilitation specialists:

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Photo courtesy of Appalachian Wildlife Refuge

🦊 Appalachian Wildlife Refuge | Candler, Buncombe County | (828) 633-6364

In addition to offering rehabilitation to wildlife in crisis, this nonprofit org — whose facility opened in July 2018 — offers education to the public about native wildlife. Wanna get involved? Check out their volunteer opportunities or make a donation.


Photo courtesy of Edith Allen Wildlife Sanctuary

🦌 Edith Allen Wildlife Sanctuary | Canton, Haywood County | (828) 788-1805

This sanctuary + rehabilitation center is one of only 12 spots in the region that works with fawns.They also offer a permanent sanctuary to over 50 non-native animals. Support their work by adopting an animal in their care.

🦉 May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center | Banner Elk, Avery County | (828)898- 2568

This rehab center, located adjacent to the campus of Lees-McRae College, offers care to over 1,500 injured + orphaned wild animals from WNC annually.

🐿️ River Rock Wildlife Rehab | Connelly Springs, Catawba County | (828) 475-5779

A Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation, this spot specializes in rehabilitating native wildlife. They are currently only able to accept armadillos, foxes,

skunks, squirrels + white-tailed fawns.

🦝 Wild For Life I Asheville, Buncombe County | (828)665-4341

The only established wildlife rehabilitation facility and 501(c)3 organization within 50 miles of Asheville, Wild for Life is operated by volunteers and runs solely on individual donations. Help them help wildlife here.

Looking for additional wildlife rehabilitation specialists in NC? Check North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission or Animal Help Now.

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