Wild Animals

skunk crawling under fence

Our Animal Services Officers:

  • Respond to calls about injured wildlife and animal welfare concerns
  • Help free wild animals that have gotten stuck
  • Take most ill or injured wildlife to a licensed rehabber

Keep Wildlife Wild

It's important to keep wildlife wild. Stress from contact with a human can cause serious health problems. Wild animals can carry parasites and diseases that can make humans and other animals sick. For more information on wildlife and health, visit CDC's wildlife page.

How to Tell if a Wild Animal is Orphaned

If you find a young animal in the wild, it may not always be an orphan. A young animal's best chance for survival is with its mother.

Concerns with wild animals

Wildlife can sometimes cause trouble. Check the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website to learn what you can do to deal with nuisance wildlife.

Removing Nuisance Wild Animals

For help with removing a wild animal from your property, call a private pest control service. Pest control companies are licensed to remove or relocate healthy wildlife and can help you determine how to keep the problem from reoccurring.

Possession of Wild Animals

  • The possession of almost all wild animals is illegal in Wisconsin.
  • Birds are protected by federal law. Mammals and other wildlife are protected by state law. You must have a permit from the proper government agency to keep a wild mammal or bird.
  • Strange as it may seem, it may be legal for a pet store to sell you a wild animal but illegal for you to own it.

Dead Bird Reporting

Mosquitoes get infected with West Nile virus by feeding on infected birds. West Nile virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. The WI Department of Health Services no longer collects dead birds for West Nile virus testing and the hotline has been disconnected.

If you find a dead bird, please visit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website for instructions. If you are told to dispose of the dead bird, don’t touch it with your bare hands. Wear gloves or an inverted plastic bag and then put it in your regular trash. Wash your hands after putting the bird in the trash.

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