The mission of the Living Desert’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Program is to provide care to injured or orphaned native wildlife with the goal of eventual release into natural desert habitats. We strive to serve as a reliable source of information about desert species and to empower our community to coexist with wildlife.
47900 Portola Ave. Palm Desert CA 92260
Hours of Operation
June – Sept 7:00 am to 1:30 pm
Oct – May 8:00 am to 1:30 pm
$5 recommended intake fee.
How do you know that a wild animal needs rescuing?
Not every animal that is on its own, can’t fly or climb, or seems to be in the wrong place, is in need of help. If you are uncertain that the animal is truly orphaned or critically injured, it is better left alone. Some situations that appear to be problems may instead be normal behaviors or stages of development. Sometimes it is just too dangerous for you to intervene or it might be more harmful for the animal. Call us for a consultation.
What should I do with a truly orphaned or injured native animal?
For legal and humane reasons, it is advisable to not care for an orphaned or injured native wild animal yourself. State licensed wildlife rehabilitators are your best bet for a legal, humane and successful outcome. In the Coachella Valley, The Living Desert and the Coachella Valley Wild Bird Center (760-347-2647) in Indio are your best choices. Outside of the Valley, see the California Department of Fish and Game’s directory of currently licensed rehabilitators by clicking here. Before transporting your injured or orphaned wild animal to a wildlife rehabilitator, call for the best advice on capturing and handling during the transport.
You’ve found a wild animal that may need help- now what?
If you find an animal but you’re not sure what it is, here are some links to help:
- Bird Identification: http://www.whatbird.com/
- Reptile/Amphibian Identification: http://www.californiaherps.com/
- Mammals: http://www.livingdesert.org/animal-category/north-america/
Desert Tortoise Adoption Program
It is a program where captive-bred desert tortoises are adopted out to families and individuals. This program was started in conjunction with the California Department of Fish and Game, when the desert tortoise was listed as threatened. Click here to learn more!
Recently, a Red-shouldered Hawk was brought into the Native Wildlife Conservation Program because he was unable to fly after hitting a window. Upon examination, the bird was found to have a fractured wing. Birds with wing injuries typically have a very guarded prognosis. Even if the injury heals, added scar tissue can prevent the bird from flying normally ever again. Birds of prey especially need to have full flight capabilities as they need to actively hunt for their meals.
The Red-shouldered Hawk had a fractured left ulna that veterinary and rehab staff weren’t sure would heal. After a few weeks of cage rest and after gaining some weight, the bird was looking healthy and seemed able to move fairly well in an outdoor enclosure. A second x-ray showed that the broken bone had healed better than expected!
In the photo of the x-ray, you can see the callus that built up around the broken bone on the left, compared to the intact right wing. Because this was a young bird, he was able to heal more quickly. He was transferred to the Coachella Valley Wild Bird Center in Indio to build up his wing muscles in a large flight cage before being released. We wish him luck in the last stage of his recovery.
Thanks to a Good Samaritan that brought the bird into the NWCP, this hawk got a second chance. If you or someone you know finds an animal that you think may need help, the first thing to do is to call The Living Desert’s Native Wildlife Conservation Center or another licensed wildlife rehabilitator near you for tips on what you should do.