TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) — When it comes to finding an injured animal, your human instincts can play a role in nurturing and caring for it. However, a local wildlife rehabilitator says one phone call can save a furry friend.
“This is Danica…she’s our nonreleasable chipmunk,” began Sandy Blackburn, a Fountain County wildlife rehabilitation program.
As a puppy, Danica was stepped on while she was in a nest covered with mulch.
Those who found her contacted Blackburn, who worked tirelessly to reduce Danica’s brain swelling and ultimately saved her life.
If those who found her hadn’t called for help, Blackburn said she wouldn’t have made it.
“We’ve got her as good as we could get. The problem is, she’s still not well enough to be released. She doesn’t do many of the chipmunk things she needs to do to stay safe. She doesn’t do that hoarding food, she doesn’t stuff her cheeks and doesn’t climb very well,” explains Blackburn.
Although Danica has suffered permanent brain damage, she is an education ambassador and helps teach Blackburn about wildlife.
Department of Natural Resources license and permit supervisor Linnea Petercheff said that once you confirm an animal’s injury, you should provide a comfortable, quiet, and dark environment.
“If they’re not in a safe situation where they can put it on with gloves and put it in a box then I’d say just leave it there, make sure you know where the location is and then call that rehabilitator, said Petercheff.
Once an animal has fully recovered, rehabilitators such as Blackburn will release the animal back into the wild. However, if an animal sustains permanent damage like Danica, rehabilitators will do their best to give their lives new meaning.
Blackburn stressed that it is illegal to keep wild animals without a permit. Wildlife rehabilitators such as Blackburn are volunteered and receive no funding so if you would like to volunteer or donate, please contact Blackburn here
Here are rehabilitators here or near the Wabash Valley:
Sandy Blackburn (Fountain & Parke County) – 765-585-5244
Sandy treats rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, opossums, skunks, groundhogs. (NO deer, coyotes or foxes)
Robert Lange (Knox County) – 812-886-4831
You can contact Robert for coyotes, foxes, deer, bobcats, bats and birds of prey.
Karen White, Vigo County – 812-243-0622
Karen accepts mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds.
A full list of DNR Permitted Wildlife Rehabilitators can be found here.