Help Lakeside Nature Center + Operation Wildlife save baby animals

You’re more likely to find baby animals in need this spring and summer, so be informed about how your intervention can help (or harm) local wildlife in need.

A brown barred owl perches on a tree limb.

Yes, OWL does treat owls — like the Kansas-native barred owl. | Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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For most of us, summer is a season for sunshine and relaxation. For animal rescue services, it’s also baby season.

Between February and October — but especially in the summer — you’re much more likely to come across baby animals that appear sick, injured, or abandoned. Our advice: Trust the pros.

Meet Lakeside Nature Center

Lakeside Nature Center doesn’t just offer free, public recreational and educational programming. It’s also one of Missouri’s largest wildlife rehabilitation hospitals, admitting more than 4,000 animals to its rehab and release program in 2022 alone.

Get to know your local nature center with upcoming guided hikes and native garden work days, and see how you can volunteer.

Wildlife rehabs can’t accept animals across state lines. For our KCK readers, your best resource is Operation Wildlife. Founded in 1989, OWL serves nine counties + is the largest wildlife rehab in Kansas, with a release rate 20% higher than the national average. It also maintains a robust animal guide, with rescue advice for everything from armadillos to white-tailed deer. (Ctrl + D to bookmark, btw.)

Never guess when it comes to animal care. Check each center’s online resources (Lakeside + OWL), then call and leave a detailed message. But before you do…

Assess the situation

Many animals brought into wildlife rehabilitation centers aren’t actually abandoned. An animal displaying no indicators of distress or injury may just be waiting for mom. If the animal is bleeding or obviously injured, consult your local wildlife rehab right away.

Be mindful of the animal’s wellbeing

Don’t act immediately when you’ve determined an animal is abandoned. Human contact stresses the animal and could lead to injury and disease (to you and the animal). Human food or improper feeding technique can also cause harm. Keep a close eye, be patient, and visit your local center’s online resource guide.

At this point, you’re in good hands. Follow its instructions to safely bring in the animal, and go cash in on your good deed for the day. Mother Nature thanks you.

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