I found an animal that needs help. Who can I call? What can I do?

Getting injured or orphaned wildlife to a wildlife care center as soon as possible will increase the animal’s chance of survival.

Who can I call?

In San Francisco:

Call San Francisco Animal Care and Control’s emergency dispatch number: (415) 554-9400. You can bring injured or orphaned wildlife to SF ACC at 1419 Bryant Street. Calling first is helpful, but not necessary.

In Marin County:

Call the Marin Humane Society: (415) 883-4621
Call WildCare in San Rafael: (415) 456-7283 (SAVE). Operators are available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 365 days a year. After 5 p.m., for wildlife emergencies only, call WildCare’s Wildlife Emergency Nightline at 415-300-6359.

In San Mateo County:

Call the Peninsula Humane Society: (650) 340-7022. Calling first is helpful, but not necessary.

Outside the Bay Area:

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife lists wildlife rehabilitation centers by California county.

The National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association has helpful national resources.

The International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council has links for U.S. and international rescue centers.

If you need further help:

Call SF Wildlife Help hotline at 415-350-9453.

What can I do?

If you can pick up the animal:

  • Do so with care to both yourself and the animal, especially if it is injured.
  • Place a towel or t-shirt over a mammal before picking it up, or wear gloves, unless it is a tiny baby.
  • Place the animal in a secure container (with a towel or t-shirt in the bottom). A stunned animal may “come to” during transport.
  • If you are in San Francisco, transport the animal immediately to SF Animal Care and Control at 1419 Bryant Street or call for an SF ACC Dispatch to pick up the animal (415-554-9400). (See “If you have an animal in your possession” below for more information.) If you are not in San Francisco, call one of the numbers listed above.
  • Reduce noise during transport (radio off, quiet talking only).

If you cannot safely pick up the animal:

If you are in San Francisco, an SF ACC Officer will rescue the animal. Call their emergency dispatch number (415) 554-9400. Be precise about the location of the animal to help the Officer locate the animal, especially if no one will be there when the Officer arrives. Tell the dispatcher as much as you know about the situation, such as how long the animal has been there, anything you know about the cause of an injury, the direction it came from, etc.

Please stay to protect the animal from harm or disturbance by dogs and people until a SF ACC Officer arrives. Frightened animals may run into traffic or leave the area and be hard to relocate. Keeping an eye on the animal if it moves will make it easier for the Officer to locate, increasing its chances of getting care. If you cannot stay, try to find someone to protect the animal from disturbances, and note if its location moves, until the Officer arrives. Covering an animal with a box or laundry basket, when possible, will reduce visual stress and chances of animal running off. Always approach a wild animal slowly. Fast movements scare them.

If you are not in San Francisco, contact one of the agencies listed above for your area.

If you have a wild mammal in your possession:

    • Be sure the animal is in a secure box with air holes. A stunned animal (hit by a car or bird who hit a window) may “come to” while in your care.
    • Keep the animal warm and quiet.

Reduce stress to wild animals by not talking or playing a radio in their presence. Domestic animals are predators of wildlife, so please, keep wildlife away from domestic pets. Just the presence of domestic animals is stressful to wildlife.

Opossums are marsupials, carrying their babies in a pouch, like kangaroos and koala bears:
A mother opossum that has been hit by a car may have babies in her pouch that could survive with care. Place baby opossums in a box or paper bag, with a towel or t-shirt under them if you have one handy, and transport to SF ACC or call for a pickup ASAP (415-554-9400). Keeping babies warm is critical to their chance of survival. Check for young opossums in nearby shrubbery. If they were with their mother, they will not survive without care. If the mother is dead, check for baby opossums in her pouch, but don’t attempt to remove the babies from the pouch because this could harm them.

For more information…